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1 07 988 



By Constance Wright 



de fafayette 

J * 



Copyright 1959 by Constance Wright 
In Canada, Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Limited. 

All rights reserved, including the right to repro- 
duce this book or portions thereof in any form. 

Published, March, 1959 
Second Printing, April, 1962 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 59-6675 

Printed in the United States of America 

For Mary Lee, with all good will 
-and a few doubts 


Recently, in 1956, Count Ren6 de Chambrun, one of Adri- 
enne de Lafayette's descendants, took possession of the cha- 
teau of La Grange-Bl&ieau, where she spent the last years 
of her life; there he discovered a treasure trove of documents. 
Until these have been sorted over and made available to 
scholars, no absolutely definitive life of Adrienne can be 
written. So much material is already available, however, that 
her story is told here with the hope that only a few minor 
details are lacking and with the conviction that the last 
word can never be spoken of a person of whom there is abun- 
dant record, and who lived so abundantly. 


PART ONE: January, ij 8 2 October, 





PART TWO: October, 1791 October, 1792 






PART THREE: October, 1792 June, 1794 






PART FOUR: June, i^-January, 



PART FIVE: January, i^-November, 17^5 





PART six: November, i^-November, 1799 





PART SEVEN: November, i^-Christmas Eve, 1807 





January, 1782 October, 1791 


Heroic Homecoming 

s, which today is a city of light, of broad boulevards, 
of endless vistas, was at the end of the eighteenth cen- 
tury still a walled town. It was surrounded by field and 
woodland and by sprawling suburbs, some of them as hide- 
ous slums as one could find anywhere in Europe. 

The streets of the city proper were narrow and crooked. 
In winter they were thickly smeared with mud and sewage, 
but on the day preceding January gist, 1782, a miracle of 
municipal house cleaning was brought to pass. The entire 
city was swept clean; thousands of firepots were distributed 
for after dark illumination for January 2 ist was to be a day 
of fte, of fanfare. At Versailles, Queen Marie Antoinette of 
France had borne a son. In the morning she would come 
from La Muette, a royal hunting lodge on the edge of the 
Bois de Boulogne, for her churching in Notre Dame. Later 
in the day, the King would join her for a state banquet at 
the Hotel de Ville. 

The weather on the sist was clear and bright. Everyone 
was out; everyone wanted to see the royal processions as 



they entered and left the city. In the afternoon, however, 
sensation seekers discovered that there was a counter attrac- 
tion. In the Rue St. Honor, which was off the expected line 
of march, a crowd gathered in front of a large, handsome 
house, which, with its wide forecourt, its pillared facade, 
and beautiful formal garden that stretched as far as the 
Tuileries and what is now the Rue de Rivoli, was one of the 
showplaces of Paris. 

This was the city mansion a hotel in the primitive sense 
of the term of a very important family that for generations 
had held high positions in the government of France. The 
Due Mar6chal de Noailles was the patriarch of the clan; his 
eldest son, the Due d'Ayen, was Captain of the King's body- 
guard. The Hotel de Noailles had always been admired, but 
for the past five years passers-by had stopped to gape at it in 
wonder. It was widely known that this was the home not 
only of the Noailles dukes and duchesses but of a Noailles 
son-in-law, the Marquis de Lafayette. 

All knew the life story of this remarkable young man. In 
1774, at the early age of sixteen, Gilbert du Motier, one of 
the richest boys of noble blood in France, was married to 
Marie Adrienne Franoise, the second of the Due d'Ayen's 
five daughters. Three years later he left abruptly to fight in 
the American War for Independence. In 1779 he returned 
a universal hero, the darling of the court and of the nation, 
only to depart for another long campaign across the Atlantic 
which had recently ended in victory. Three days ago, Lafa- 
yette had landed at Lorient and word had just been spread 
about in the capital that he might arrive at any moment. 

Among those who waited at the gate of the Hotel de 
Noailles were some women who sold fish in the Paris market. 
Dressed in their Sunday best, they had brought with them 
sheaves of laurel to present to the conqueror. That Lafa- 
yette had routed the British almost single handedly at York- 
town they were sure; they were also sure that in some way, 


not yet revealed to them, he would be the champion of lib- 
erty their liberty at home. 

Presently a carriage appeared; cheers and cries of "long 
live Lafayette" went up. The tall young man of twenty-four 
who emerged from the post chaise, with his broad shoulders, 
his great beak of a nose and his reddish hair, was no Prince 
Charming, but the crowd had not expected that he would 
be as pretty as a porcelain doll. In his uniform of an Amer- 
ican Major General, Lafayette was an impressive, a soldierly 

As always, his manners were equal to the occasion. He ac- 
cepted the fishwives' offering gratefully and without the 
slightest hint of condescension. He made a little speech of 
thanks and waited patiently until all had had a good look 
at him before entering the house. 

It seemed as if the show was over. The servant who opened 
the door to him, and even the fishwives, could tell the Mar- 
quis that his wife, the person he had wanted most to sur- 
prise, was not at home. She and all the adult members of 
her family her father, her mother, and her sisters were at 
the reception at the Hotel de Ville. When they would re- 
turn was anybody's guess. By this time the town hall dinner 
must be over, but protocol demanded that no one should 
leave before the Queen had been bowed into her coach. 
After her would come the King, the Princes of the Blood, 
and all the high dignitaries of the realm in slow moving, 
well-established order of precedence. This might mean a 
wait of several hours, and the crowd began to thin out soon 
after Lafayette had disappeared from view. 

A short time later, however, those who lingered got their 
reward. A fresh wave of sightseers began to pour in from the 
direction of the Hotel de Ville, filling the street and the 
courtyard of the Hotel de Noailles and lining the steps of 
the parish Church of St. Roch across the way. First, distant 
shouts and the blare of trumpets, then, the thud of horses' 


hoofs and the jingle of harness announced that there had 
been a change of royal plan. The Queen's coach, with its 
mounted escort and outriders, all decked out in their be- 
ribboned birthday finery, came lurching down the Rue St. 
HonorS. It ground to a halt before the house of the Due 

Again a shout went up, a double-barreled shout, for the 
Queen was not alone in her jewel box setting. Beside her on 
the velvet cushions was seated a young woman, elaborately 
dressed, elaborately jeweled, but not as resplendent as the 
Queen, for no one was permitted to out-glitter royalty. Dark 
haired, white skinned, with delicately chiseled features 
what one noticed first about Adrienne de Lafayette were 
her very large, her very expressive eyes, deep set under thick, 
dark eyebrows. Because she was so small and slight, Adrienne 
who had recently celebrated her twenty-second birthday- 
looked almost like a school girl; her youth, her pallor were 
perfect foils to set off the triumphant, full-blown beauty of 
her carriage-mate. 

That the Marquise de Lafayette should be riding in the 
royal coach was due to a generous impulse on the part of 
Marie Antoinette. Just as the dinner party at the Hotel de 
Ville was breaking up, the news of Lafayette's return was 
passed from mouth to mouth, from ear to ear, until it 
reached the Queen. She realized Adrienne's predicament. 
All the ladies at the dinner were expected not only to wait 
their turn here but to follow the coach as far as La Muette 
for another round of curtseying, a second ceremonial fare- 

Marie Antoinette sent word to Adrienne to leave at once 
and to hurry home to her husband. When Adrienne de- 
murred, the Queen offered to alter her route and invited 
in fact, commanded the young wife to come with her. There 
was kindness in the invitation; there were also showmanship 
and a consideration for popular sentiment with which the 


Queen was seldom credited. She saw, no doubt, that on this 
day of days the people of Paris would like to view the mother 
of the Dauphin, but they would also like to see the wife of 
their favorite Marquis. 

Lafayette himself, when he heard the noisy overture to 
the Queen's arrival, hurried out of the house and pushed 
his way through the crowded courtyard. He was standing 
bareheaded at the gate when the coach drew up. The Queen 
leaned out; she extended a hand for him to kiss; she smiled. 
She knew Lafayette far better than she knew Adrienne. He 
had been one of the rather fast and foolish set that revolved 
about her in the early days of her marriage. At that time she 
had not thought too highly of him an awkward, tongue- 
tied youth, a clumsy figure on the ballroom floor. Once 
Marie Antoinette had laughed at the Marquis when he was 
chosen as her partner in a quadrille and had made a few 
blundering missteps that spoiled the pattern of the dance. 
When he became a hero she learned to be more gracious. 

And she was very gracious now. She congratulated him on 
the American victory and on the part that he had played in 
it. "As you see," she said, "I have brought you Madame de 
Lafayette. Her place today is not with me, but with her hus- 

Lafayette murmured his thanks. All eyes during this brief 
and largely one-sided conversation were fixed upon the 
Queen. When the signal for the coach to move on was given, 
all eyes were fixed on Adrienne, who had not spoken a sin- 
gle word. She had been helped out on the farther side of the 
carriage and stood staring speechless at her husband. 

If possible she had become more pale; all color had 
drained from her lips and cheeks. She took a step forward, 
stumbled, and would have fallen if Lafayette had not sprung 
forward to catch her. Sweeping her up in his arms, her head 
against his shoulder, her voluminous skirts trailing to the 
ground, he carried her toward the house, much impeded by 


the curious who pressed about him and followed to the very 

The crowd was enthralled. Those who couldn't get near 
enough to see plainly, shoved their neighbors, craned their 
necks, and stood on tiptoe. Those who had handkerchiefs 
took them out to wipe their eyes. There were enthusiastic 
ululations, ohs and ahs of commiseration and delight. 

For a legend had grown up about Adrienne, just as it had 
grown up about her venturesome husband. She was his faith- 
ful, virtuous wife; she was Penelope to his Ulysses; she was 
the mother of his only son, who had been named George 
Washington Lafayette after the American general. When 
the treaty of alliance between the colonies and France had 
been signed, the American envoys went to pay her their re- 
spects. It was even said that when Voltaire the great Vol- 
tairereturned to Paris from exile in 1778, he sought out 
Adrienne and fell on his knees before her. "I wish," he cried, 
"to present my homage to the wife of the hero of the New 
World; may I live long enough to salute him as the liberator 
of the old!" 

Closely identified as she was in the public mind with Lafa- 
yette, it seemed altogether fitting to the onlookers in the 
courtyard of the Hotel de Noailles that the poor little woman 
should faint at sight of her husband after years of separation. 
Fainting was much in fashion, particularly among fine ladies 
and Adrienne was, after all, the daughter of a duke. In los- 
ing consciousness she had behaved just as her audience had 
hoped she would, and it went away well-satisfied after the 
door had closed upon her. What it had just witnessed was 
as good as the finale of a stage play, and soon a popular bal- 
lad was being sung in the music halls of Paris that told how 
Lafayette had come home from the wars to offer to his wife 
"a heart of flame." 

It so happened that the little drama of Lafayette's return 


had been judged correctly, though across the footlights, so 
to speak, only its crude outlines could be grasped. Its finer 
points were known to none but the principal actors. 

Adrienne was indeed a good and faithful wife and her 
faint had been quite genuine; she was not given to swooning 
for stage effect. When she came to herself in the privacy of 
her father's house, she was dissatisfied with the part she had 
played. This was not the greeting she had intended for her 
husband. She had been overwhelmed as much by the public- 
ity of her meeting with Lafayette as by the sudden release 
from long tension. 

During the past eight years Adrienne had known moments 
of exquisite happiness, but she had also known much sorrow, 
much frustration. The history of her marriage to Gilbert du 
Motier was and would forever after be the history of her 


A Red Tapestried Room 

EVEN BEFORE SHE first saw him, even before she had heard 
his name, Adrienne de Noailles became aware of Gil- 
bert's existence. She was a child then, not yet entered on her 

In the mansion of the Rue St. Honor, Adrienne had had 
an unusual upbringing. Most children of noble families were 
put out to nurse and might pass their early years in a peasant 
cottage, or even in one of the ugly slums that surrounded 
Paris. If they were girls, they were sent away to a convent as 
soon as they could toddle and little more notice was taken 
of them until they were ripe for marriage. 

Not so the daughters of the Duchesse d'Ayen. Though 
convent-bred herself, she could not bear to be separated from 
her children. Her five little girls had a governess and masters 
who came in to teach them music and dancing, but the Duch- 
ess herself was their most effective teacher. 

Every afternoon they would assemble in her crimson tap- 
estried bedroom. Before they settled down, the smaller ones 
on stools, the larger ones on chairs, there was an argument as 



to who should sit closest to their mother in her high-backed 
berg&re beside the fireplace, or by the open window if the 
weather was warm. Her snuff box, her work bag, and a pile 
of books would be spread out on the table beside her. 

The Duchess read aloud to her children from religious 
works she was deeply and sincerely religious from books of 
history and mythology, from books of the classic poets and 
dramatists. Sometimes even before they could write them- 
selvesshe would have them dictate letters to her so that 
they could learn to express themselves clearly and eloquently. 
But this was not a formal study hour. Most of the afternoon 
was given up to conversation; in the eighteenth century, 
conversation was a serious business, an art in itself. The 
Duchess and her little flock talked about the day's happen- 
ings, about what they had done or seen, about what they 
should or should not do in a given situation. 

The Duchess, though naturally impatient herself, always 
allowed them to express their own ideas. Once she com- 
plained that they were not as obedient as children of their 
age ought to be and Adrienne spoke up wisely. "That may 
be, maman" she said, "because you let us argue and raise 
objections. You will see that when we are fifteen we will be 
as obedient as other children." 

Already Adrienne was thinking of marriage. Fifteen was 
the accepted age of female consent of consent, that is, of a 
girl to the will of her parents for she could take it for 
granted that her parents would select her husband and well 
in advance might wonder what their choice would be. 

The day for obedience came earlier for Adrienne than she 
had expected. She was twelve, and her older sister Louise 
was thirteen, when they noticed that a coolness had arisen 
between their father and mother. This was not unusual. The 
Duke, a gregarious man, a born courtier, and an atheist, was 
very different in temperament from his devout, home-loving 
wife, who would rather dine with her children and their 


governess than with the King and Queen at Versailles. The 
girls saw little of their father. He was so often away from 
home that they never felt at ease with him. 

For a year the strained relationship continued. Then Adri- 
enne, when she and Louise went occasionally with their 
mother to Versailles, began to meet a tall, red-haired boy, a 
young Marquis who was living with his tutor in her father's 
house. Gilbert du Motier was an orphan. His childhood had 
been spent in the country, in Auvergne. For the past three 
years he had been at a fashionable boy's boarding school, Le 
Plessis, in Paris, where the younger brothers of the Dauphin, 
the future Louis XVI, were also pupils. 

The meetings were always casual and always chaperoned. 
They generally took place, as if by chance, out of doors in 
the garden. Another boy, somewhat older than Gilbert, was 
frequently present. He was the Vicomte Louis de Noailles, 
a cousin once removed, the son of the girls' great uncle, the 
Due de Mouchy. In the autumn of 1773, Louise, aged fifteen, 
was married to her cousin. At this time Adrienne's mother 
broke the news to her that she was promised to the Marquis 
de Lafayette. The marriage contract had been signed months 
ago in February, not only by the two families involved but 
also by the King. 

This explained the presence of Gilbert at Versailles and 
also the long, undeclared war between Adrienne's parents 
that preceded it. When, almost two years earlier, Lafayette's 
guardians had proposed him as a husband for one of her 
daughters which one was immaterial to them Henriette 
d'Ayen refused her consent. Her reasons seemed fantastic to 
the Duke, Her chief objection was that Gilbert du Motier 
was much too rich; she didn't want greater wealth for her 
children than they already possessed. That the Marquis was 
so young and an orphan, with no one to guide him, was also 

It had taken many heated discussions behind closed doors, 


many conferences with Lafayette's proposers, before Madame 
d'Ayen yielded, and then only with the proviso that the 
young people should have an opportunity to become ac- 
quainted before anything was said to Adrienne. In the inter- 
val the Duchess had met Gilbert and had taken an immediate 
liking to him. She told Adrienne that she had come to love 
him as if he were one of the two sons she had lost in infancy. 
She was sure that he would make her daughter very happy. 

Adrienne accepted this prediction as trustfully as she 
would any other arrangement that her mother might have 
made for her. 

Before the wedding that took place on April nth, 1774, 
when Adrienne was five months past her fourteenth birth- 
day, there were nightly receptions in the Hotel de Noailles. 
All of Paris came in rainbow review to offer their congratu- 
lations to the fiancee, who, frizzed and curled, laced within 
an inch of suffocation, sat bolt upright on a tabouret beside 
her mother's chair. As each guest appeared, Adrienne rose 
and was led forward to be introduced, often a mere formality, 
since many who came to the Rue St. Honor6 were relatives 
she had known since early childhood. To each of the deep 
bows that were made to her she was expected to return a 
curtsey in the grand manner, her left leg doubled under her 
to support her slim young body, her right foot extended to 
make a point beneath her satin petticoat. The wedding gifts 
that accompanied or followed these visits were magnificent 
and consisted chiefly of jewelry. 

On April nth, the bride was led by her father to her 
prie-dieu in the crowded, candlelit chapel of the hotel. After 
the Nuptial Mass was performed, Adrienne was allowed to re- 
tire upstairs for a few hours, to take off her veil and relax a 
little before she was re-dressed in yet another costume, even 
more elegant than her wedding gown of silver tissue. She 
then went downstairs to join the wedding guests as a married 
woman, a marquise. 


The festivities were long drawn out and ended with a 
feast, the young couple being seated for the first time side 
by side at the head of the table. Honeymoons had not yet 
been invented. The good old folkway custom of helping to 
undress the bride and groom and seeing them get into bed 
together was nowadays considered crude, but about mid- 
night a procession formed to lead the newlyweds to the door 
of the best bedroom in the house, the same red tapestried 
room with which Adrienne was so familiar. There she and 
Gilbert spent their wedding night. 

Did she already love her husband? Years later, looking 
back, Adrienne could smile at the question and say no. She 
had only a childish, tepid liking for this overgrown boy, 
whom most people thought glum and shy. He had never 
been shy with her. Even in their early encounters he had let 
her see how affectionate he could be, how eager he was for 
her affection. 

Madame d'Ayen, moreover, had impressed upon her 
daughter the necessity of making a great effort to endear 
herself to her husband. She herself, alas she admitted it with 
a sigh had never studied the art of pleasing a man. In the 
early days of her own marriage she had let the Duke see ail 
too plainly that she had a mind of her own! 

la the year that followed the Lafayette-Noailles wedding, 
the Duchess exerted herself to make home attractive to her 
son-in-law, for a clause had been inserted in the marriage 
contract that Gilbert and Adrienne should live with her 
until they were old enough to have a home of their own. The 
Duchess overcame the physical inertia that in part accounted 
for her retired way of life and, much to the Duke's satisfac- 
tion, took Louise and Adrienne to the Queen's balls at Ver- 
sailles and gave dinner parties for them there and in Paris. 
Because she had no social ambitions of her own and was so 


kind and cordial to everyone who came to her house, she 
developed a belated reputation for being the perfect hostess. 

A few weeks after Adrienne had turned sixteen, she gave 
birth to her first child, a frail little girl whom she named 
Henriette for her mother. The baby should, of course, have 
been a boy, a marquis-to-be, but Lafayette was not unkind 
enough to press the point. He was delighted, he said, to be 
a p&re de famillea. real family man and took much notice 
of Henriette when he was at home. 

He was, unfortunately, often absent. Even before he left 
boarding school Lafayette had set his heart on a military 
career and, as a prospective son-in-law of the Due d'Ayen, 
had been able to buy a commission in the Noailles Dragoons, 
a crack regiment that the Duke himself commanded. Each 
summer Lafayette went for four months of war manoeuvers 
at Metz. When he was in Paris, he led the conventional life 
of a gay and chic young officer, going often to the races, the 
masked balls at the opera and the Cabaret of the Wooden 
Sword, a roadhouse halfway between Paris and Versailles, 
where there were nightly contests in seeing who could con- 
sume the most wine without disappearing beneath the table. 
One did not take a wife to such resortsparticularly a wife 
who had been as carefully brought up as Adrienne. 

Each time that Lafayette left her for one of his tours of 
military duty, Adrienne found the parting more difficult; 
each return was more rapturous. That Gilbert might go far- 
ther than the garrison town of Metz, that he might spend 
years away from her instead of weeks and months, never 
crossed her mind until a day in April of 1777. 

Adrienne was pregnant for a second time. Gilbert had 
gone to England for a few weeks' visit to one of the Noailles 
uncles who was Ambassador to the Court of St. James. In- 
stead of coming home directly from London, as was expected, 
he was next heard from at Bordeaux. He had heard of the 


revolt in the American colonies. Like many other young 
enthusiasts who longed to twist the British lion's tail, he had 
enlisted in the American army and had bought a ship to take 
him and a group of his fellow officers across the Atlantic, 

The Duke, who had not been consulted, was outraged. 
He was sympathetic to the American cause in principal, but 
not in practice for members of his family. He ordered the 
scapegrace to return and was disobeyed. Fearful of arrest, 
of being dragged back ignominiously to Paris, Lafayette dis- 
guised himself as a postillion and galloped across the border 
into Spain. Shortly after, word came to the Hotel de Noailles 
that Lafayette's ship, La Victoire, had sailed from a Spanish 

Adrienne was stunned. In his letter of farewell, Gilbert 
apologized for shrinking from a goodbye that he knew would 
be so painful to them both, but that was the only excuse he 
gave for keeping his intentions secret. 

How little she had known himl How little they had shared, 
one with the other, their most perplexing problemsl At the 
time of her marriage, Adrienne had had a secret sorrow of 
her own. Like many adolescents who have outgrown their 
nursery conception of religion, she was plagued by religious 
doubts, doubts so strong that she had not yet after two yeans 
of seeking received her First Communion. She said nothing 
to Gilbert, knowing that he, like most men of her acquaint- 
ance, was not a practicing Catholic. After she became his 
wife, however, and knew that she was going to bear him a 
child, her misgivings suddenly vanished. The revelation that 
she was in a state of grace came peacefully, without further 
struggle and she was able to receive the sacraments in all 
sincerity. Gilbert, too, it now seemed, had had his inner, 
hidden conflict, a conflict between luxuriating in a pam- 
pered, too thickly cushioned, way of life and proving himself 
in what he thought to be a noble enterprise. 

She quickly came to his defense in the only way that was 


possible by saying nothing. Harsh words were spoken by 
the elders of the Noailles clan of Gilbert's folly, of his dis- 
obedience, and lack of consideration for his wife. Adrienne 
hid her grief and preferred to be thought childish or unfeel- 
ing rather than to swell the chorus of disapproval. She found 
a firm support in her mother, who also refused to speak ill 
of her much loved son-in-law. 

During that first long, two-year absence, Adrienne bore a 
second daughter, who was christened Anastasie. She saw her 
little Henriette sicken and die. When Lafayette returned to 
her in glory his wife's family had long ago come around to 
the widely held opinion that he was a hero another child 
was begotten who proved to be the son for whom both Adri- 
enne and Gilbert had longed. George Washington Lafayette, 
born on Christmas Eve of 1779, was two years old, his sister, 
Anastasie, was four, on the day in January when their father 
was crowned with laurel by the fishwives of Paris and their 
mother rode home in the royal coach beside the Queen. 

For Adrienne, the past two years had been, if possible, 
more trying than the first separation. Long, affectionate let- 
ters had come from America during the earlier campaign, 
but, with British cruisers patroling the Atlantic, communica- 
tion had been difficult recently and she had gotten most of 
her news from English newspapers that gave as gloomy a 
view as possible of the American war. 

Adrienne had had time to assess her marriage and to make 
certain difficult resolutions for the future. She had accepted 
the fact that she was married to an ambitious man; Lafayette 
had made it very plain that with him, his career would al- 
ways come first. What he had undertaken in a spirit of ad- 
venture had become a serious mission and he had let her see 
how strong a hold the democratic ideas he had absorbed in 
America had upon him. They were ideas that she herself 
could assimilate, since they coincided so closely with the 


Christian concept of the brotherhood of man that she and 
her sisters had learned at their mother's knee. 

What plans Gilbert might have in mind, what new dan- 
gers he might court in carrying them through, she could 
only guess. She would help him if she could, but foresaw that 
her part in the years ahead would be passive. She would have 
to continue, as in the past, to stand aside, to make few de- 
mands. That Gilbert loved her she could not doubt; when 
he was with her she was sure of it. But he did not love her 
exclusively, passionately as she had learned to love him. Just 
as she once had hidden her religious strivings from him, so 
she would hide her deepest feelings from him now; other- 
wise, he might come to resent a wife who was overpossessive, 
who clung about his neck. 

And yet at their first encounter she had fainted in his armsl 
For long after Lafayette's homecoming, Adrienne kept a 
careful watch upon herself, though every time that Gilbert 
left her, even if only for a very few moments, she had a defi- 
nite feeling of malaise. Her heart contracted as if again he 
were gone beyond recall, or as if she might have lost him in 
some more subtle but no less cruel, manner. 

The sternest task Adrienne had set herself was to show no 
jealousy of the admirers, male and female, who flocked about 
Lafayette, or even of anyone in particular a woman to 
whom his fancy might have strayed* 


The House in the "Rue de Bourbon 

HONORS CAME THICK and fast upon Adrienne's husband in 
the early months of 1782. The King, whom he visited 
promptly at La Muette on January 22nd, promised to make 
him a Marshal de Camp, a military distinction that came 
usually only to men who were twice his age. Lafayette was 
invited to dine in company with the gray-haired immortals 
of the French army, one of whom was Adrienne's grand- 
father, the Due Marchal de Noailles, and another, Adri- 
enne's great-uncle, the Due Marchal de Mouchy. Later 
Lafayette was to receive the most rarely awarded French dec- 
oration, the Cross of St. Louis. 

In the meantime he was feverishly busy. The American 
war was over, but the treaty which would recognize the in- 
dependence of the colonies and put an end to hostilities be- 
tween England and France would take months more than 
a year, as it turned out of negotiation. There were frequent 
conferences with the French cabinet and with the American 
commissioners in Paris. Lafayette was also much in demand 
socially. "I had the honor," he said later of this halcyon 



time, "of being consulted by all the ministers and, what is 
much more worth while, of being kissed by all the ladies." 

A gallant man could say no less. There were some and 
they were not altogether friendly who suggested that the 
Marquis was more interested in politics than in women, but 
when he had first gone overseas the gossips of Paris and Ver- 
sailles had wondered if there was not a romantic motive for 
his flight. Lafayette might have been crossed in love. 

Love, in a society in which young people were expected 
to do as they were told and marriages were made by parents, 
guardians, and lawyers, was a deliriously personal and unin- 
hibited affair. As long as certain conventions were observed, 
it need not be kept a secret. Everything concerning Lafa- 
yette, including the state of his affections, was now news- 
worthy. While the honors he had received from the King 
were being talked of and envied, word was also being passed 
about that the Hero of the New World and the Old had 
found himself a mistress, and that she was a lady whom he 
had once courted unsuccessfully before he had become so 

At that time Lafayette had often gone with his brother- 
in-law Louis de Noailles, Louise's husband to the Palais 
Royal, the home of the Due de Chartres, son of the Due 
d'Orleans, the King's cousin. Chartres had introduced horse 
racing into France from England, was a mighty pursuer of 
women, and an organizer of parties of pleasure that were 
sometimes held informally in the public amusement places 
of Paris. The King's brothers, the Comte de Provence and 
the Comte d'Artois, took part in these expeditions and some- 
times also the Queen, who was bored by the dull and pomp- 
ous routine of Versailles and by her dull, but virtuous, 

Lafayette at this early stage of his career had none of the 
social graces he later developed. He was diffident and proud, 
self-consciously aware of his country upbringing and of the 


fact that he was received into smart society only because he 
had married a daughter of the Due d'Ayen. He tried to assert 
himself by doing exactly as his companions did, by drinking 
more wine than he could stomach, by trying unsuccessfully 
to provoke his friends into fighting duels with him, and by 
making a few timid advances to one of the prettiest women 
of the Due de Chartres' coterie. 

This lady's name was Agla de Hunolstein. She and her 
husband were members of the Duke's household. Madame 
de Hunolstein was somewhat older and far more sophisti- 
cated than her admirer and she was not particularly flat- 
tered that this bumpkin from Auvergne should have singled 
her out. She didn't actually laugh in his face, as Marie An- 
toinette did when he failed so miserably as a dancing partner, 
but she snubbed him nevertheless. 

Like the Queen, however, Madame de Hunolstein took a 
different view of Lafayette when, almost overnight, he be- 
came a national figure. At the time of his first return from 
America, she was proud to let the world know that he was 
her "friend" and that she saw him frequently. She was also 
one of the first to greet him with open arms in 1782 and was 
ready and eager to give him more, much more, than a cere- 
monial kiss on either cheek. 

During that spring and summer, while the trees were in 
leaf and the fountains played in the courtyards of the Palais 
Royal, Lafayette became the accepted lover of Agla6 de 
Hunolstein. He could visit her whenever he chose, and his 
comings and goings were noted by the Palais Royal group. 

Soon, however, the affair began to run a wavering course. 
Lafayette had little time to devote to romance. Agla, at first 
so receptive, became moody and apprehensive; she several 
times suggested a break in their relations. Her life, which 
had been so pleasant and light-hearted hitherto, was becom- 
ing complicated. There were good reasons for her uneasiness, 
which she hid from Lafayette. Trouble was in the making. 


In the autumn, when the Marquis went to Spain for five 
months on business that concerned the American peace, a 
barrage of ill-natured talk was directed at his chosen lady. 

It was said that Agla6 had dismissed Lafayette five years 
earlier to America because she saw her way to a more impor- 
tant and profitable liaison with the Due de Chartres. The 
Duke was tired of her, it was said; by the time of Lafayette's 
return he was glad to be rid of her. And it was just as well 
that her present cavalier was rich because Madame de Hun- 
olstein wheedled her suitors into buying her expensive pres- 
ents. A Russian nobleman, for example, had given her a 
handsome set of furs. It was even said that Agla6 had become 
thoroughly promiscuous and at night went scouting for 
lovers in the dark arcades of the Palais Royal, a part of which, 
open to the public, was given over to shops, restaurants, and 
a theater. 

Some of this malignant gossip was due, no doubt, to jeal- 
ousy of Lafayette. He had risen so fast in the world and was 
so universally caressed that he had made a few enemies. But 
part of the mischief Agla had brought upon herself. She had 
committed the serious blunder of breaking one of the con- 
ventions by which the game of dalliance was played. It was 
permissible for a married woman to have a lover only as long 
as she remained officially a married woman and the Comte 
de Hunolstein had openly repudiated his wife. He would 
have nothing more to do with her. 

When Lafayette came back from Spain in the early spring, 
he was in Paris only a very short time before going to his 
birthplace, Chavaniac, in Auvergne. There, on March 27th, 
1783, he wrote a letter to his mistress, a sorrowful letter of 
farewell. He had not seen her while he was in Paris, but he 
had heard from her and she had asked him to give up all 
claim upon her. She wanted written proof that their affair 
was at an end. 

Agla6 was frightened; she was burning her bridges behind 


her. Her family, scandalized by the bad reputation she had 
acquired, was trying to force a reconciliation with her hus- 
band. If that failed, she would have to leave the court and 
live a retired life away from all temptation. 

A woman faced by such a dilemma was in need of comfort 
and this Lafayette generously supplied. He had heard the 
stupid slanders, he said and dismissed them all as contempt- 
ible lies. He was doing now what she asked only because he 
realized that he had had all the pleasure from their connec- 
tion, she the pain. It was he who had always taken the 
initiative; he had been the pursuer, she the pursued. In his 
final sentence he slipped into the second person singular, the 
thee and thou that in French denotes a very special tender- 
ness. "But at least my heart is my own, dear Agla6. All that 
you are, all that I owe you justifies my love, and nothing, 
not even you, can keep me from adoring you." 

They did not meet again. The efforts to patch up the de 
Hunolstein marriage came to nothing. Lafayette no longer 
visited the Palais Royal and in June, Agla6 left the palace to 
live in a convent. 

Her disappearance caused only a minor ripple of interest. 
The gossips, putting two and two together, said that Lafa- 
yette had deserted her. His heart could not have been broken 
because he was often seen in the more sedate salons that he 
now frequented with yet another lady whom he had met 
even before he went to Spainl She was a sister of one of his 
Franco-American officers. She was even more beautiful than 
Madame de Hunolstein and, unlike poor Agla, was witty 
and intelligent. There was a kind of magic about Madame 
de Simiane; when one met her at a social gathering she was 
so charming, it was said, so ready to be pleased, that one felt 
like giving another party especially in her honor. Though 
she had been much courted, no man could claim to be her 
lover, and for Lafayette to have won her heart was yet an- 
other triumph. 


He had his magic too, it seemed, for he was able appar- 
ently to enjoy his intimacies with other women and at the 
same time remain on excellent terms with his devoted little 
wife. Not by a word, not by the flicker of an eyelash, did 
Madame de Lafayette notice the attentions that her husband 
paid Madame de Simiane. Earlier, when he was in pursuit 
of Agla, she had turned a deaf ear to all malicious talk. 
Though no one who observed her could believe that she was 
indifferent, no one, least of all her husband, suspected the 
full cost to her of her forbearance. 

When, years ago now, Lafayette's guardians were looking 
about them for a suitable match for their ward, one of them 
claimed that "if he doesn't make his wife happy he will be 
the first man of his family to have failed." Lafayette had 
had every intention of living up to this tradition. He would 
have liked to make the whole world happy and why not 
Adrienne, of whom he was so very fond? However far he 
might be from her, however absorbed by other loves and 
other preoccupations, she remained the stable center of his 
restless life; she was the one to whom he could always return 
and find unchanged. 

He was soon to discover how useful she could be to a man 
whose career was about to enter on a new phase. 

Lafayette had been pleased, if not surprised, when 
shortly after his return from America Adrienne told him that 
she was again pregnant. A brother for George Washington 
Lafayette was on the way, the prospective father wrote to 
George's august namesake across the ocean. But this was only 
wishful thinking. The "brother" was to be yet another sister, 
a seven months child, born in September of 1782. 

The baby was christened Marie Antoinette Virginiethe 
third of her names, the name by which she would be known, 
representing a compromise. Adrienne had wanted the name 


of a saint, Lafayette a name that was peculiarly American 
and Virginie fulfilled both requirements. 

In the same month in which Virginie was born, her father 
came of legal age. A noble might be married in his teens, he 
might even become a Major General before he was twenty, 
but he was not thought capable of controlling his business 
affairs until he was twenty-five. 

During Lafayette's minority his estate had been managed 
by an agent, a Monsieur Morizot, who groaned over the 
lavish sums that, unknown to him, his client had borrowed 
to spend on the American war. Morizot had had to sell vari- 
ous properties to cover these debts. He now had to make 
another cut into capital, for Lafayette's first move after 
reaching his majority was to commission Morizot to find him 
a suitable house in Paris. 

The house that the agent bought was in the Rue de 
Bourbon, on the left bank of the Seine, across the river from 
the Hotel de Noailles. It was not as spectacular as Adrienne's 
childhood home, but it was on a large scale and, what with 
the furniture and the necessary alterations, cost more than 
a quarter of a million livres. 

The family moved into the Rue de Bourbon in 1783. 
They had barely settled in when Lafayette was off for a third 
voyage to America that lasted seven months, followed by a 
tour of Germany and Austria to inspect the might of France's 
most powerful neighbors. 

Adrienne had looked forward to having a home of her 
own. She and Gilbert had often talked of a place where they 
could sit cozily by their fireside and be able to entertain a 
few friends without asking permission of their elders. But 
there was little coziness in the Hotel de Lafayette; their 
friends were legion now. During the seven years that the 
hotel flourished as a social center, guests by the score sat 
down daily at the long banqueting table in the dining room. 


There was such a constant stream of visitors that the host 
and hostess were seldom alone. 

Many of the visitors who came to the Rue de Bourbon 
were, of course, Americans. Lafayette continued to be active 
in behalf of his adopted country. In getting the youthful 
nation on its feet economically, he worked closely with the 
first American minister to France, Thomas Jefferson. If an 
American was ill, in trouble, or in debt, or if he merely 
wanted an admission card to Mass at Notre Dame at which 
the King would be present, Lafayette came to the rescue. 
If the Marquis was not at home, as was often the case, Mad- 
ame de Lafayette acted for him. 

Every Monday evening Adrienne presided over American 
dinners at which Virginia hams were sometimes served, 
hams that had been cured in the smokehouse at Mount 
Vernon, presents from General and Mrs. Washington. 
French guests were also invited to enjoy this exotic fare and 
in so doing, make personal friendships that would strengthen 
the bond between France and her new ally. 

The prim American ladies who sat down at Adrienne's 
board Miss Abigail Adams of Quincy, Massachusetts was 
one of them thought that the mistress of the house was 
"very agreeable and pleasing/' She was not quite as beautiful 
as they had expected, but they were gratified to find one 
French marquise who was not over-rouged and overdressed 
and one French home in which children were seen and heard 
and cherished. The little Lafayettes learned to speak English 
almost as soon as they learned to speak French. They were 
sometimes allowed to come downstairs after dinner to sing 
American songs for the company. That the children's mother 
seemed more anxious than their father to have them perform 
only added a homely touch to this scene of domestic harmony 
in the midst of Old World splendor. 

But was it a good thing for the children to be exposed to 
all the attention they were getting? Adrienne asked herself 


this question and decided that a little flattery and caressing 
would not hurt her girls, but that it might have a bad effect 
on her boy. He would soon be old enough to realize that he 
was the son o an important personage and might become 
vain or bumptious. He would be distracted too, from his 
lessons by the constant coming and going. When George was 
six-years-old Adrienne, with Lafayette's concurrence, rented 
a small apartment in the Rue St. Jacques, not far from the 
Hotel de Lafayette. Here George could live quietly with his 
tutor, a young man named Flix Frestel, and she could visit 
him every day. 

Her days were very full. Every charitable organization in 
Paris wanted her support and the prestige of her name in 
soliciting funds. She became increasingly involved in her 
husband's activities. 

On the walls of the study in his new house, Lafayette had 
had engraved the Constitution of the United States, with an 
empty frame beside it for the Constitution of France that 
he told his visitors he hoped to have a hand in writing. Un- 
til that day should come, he devoted himself to reforms that 
tended towards democracy, one of them being the extension 
of civil liberties to Protestants and Jews. Lafayette went to 
the desolate sections of the country where the few Huguenots 
left in France were living and brought the leaders of the 
outcast sect to his home in Paris for secret conferences with 
government officials and for Adrienne to entertain. She was 
glad to cooperate, for she, a convinced Catholic, believed 
firmly in liberty of conscience. Any infringement of that 
liberty was a denial of the freedom of will that God had 
given to man. 

Certain welfare projects that Lafayette undertook were 
handed over almost entirely to Adrienne's management, for 
he had found that, though inexperienced, she had a surpris- 
ingly good head for business. Lafayette had a scheme for 
relieving the grim poverty that existed in his native hill 


country of Auvergne. He established a school on his estate 
at St. Georges d'Aurac to teach weaving to sheepherding 
peasants and to give much needed winter employment. It was 
Adrienne's job to ask for gifts of money from individuals 
and from the government to keep the school running. 

More work for Adrienne resulted from her activity, and 
her husband's, in the antislavery movement. At Cayenne in 
French Guiana, Lafayette bought a plantation, La Belle 
Gabrielle and a large number of Negro slaves, who were to 
be freed as soon as they had been educated and given a means 
of supporting themselves. Adrienne conferred frequently 
with the priests of the Seminaire du Saint Esprit in Paris, 
who had a mission at Cayenne and who were willing to 
supply teachers for the plantation school; she spent long 
hours in correspondence with the plantation's manager. At 
this time she also visited the prisons of Paris to investigate 
the horrible conditions that existed there, one of Lafayette's 
aims being a reform of the penal code. 

Reform reform on an even more far reaching scale was 
the subject of eager talk, not only in the Hotel de Lafayette 
but also in dubs and in the political salons where Lafayette 
frequently met his beautiful friend, Madame de Simiane. 
The feeling that something was basically wrong in France 
had been growing for a generation and now was the time to 
set it right. There was a brief period, a delicious moment, 
when it seemed as if the whole world might be rebuilt ac- 
cording to the blueprints of wise men and philosophers. 
None would suffer, all would gain. 

In 1787 an "Assembly of Notables" was called to the 
Palace of Versailles to make recommendations to the Ring 
that would solve the staggering financial difficulties that con- 
fronted his government In this Assembly Lafayette brought 
to the fore his civil liberty program and bluntly suggested 
that one way to meet the national deficit was to drastically 


reduce the expenditures of the royal household. He had in 
mind the huge amounts spent on pensions, sinecure appoint- 
ments to favorites, and the extravagances of the Queen. 

"The millions that are being dissipated are raised by tax- 
ation/' he said, "and taxes can only be justified by the true 
needs of the state." There was a shocked silence around the 
long, green conference table as he added that, "the millions 
given over to depredation and cupidity are the price of the 
sweat, the tears and even the blood of the people." 

At a later session, presided over by the Comte d'Artois, 
the King's brother and Lafayette's fellow playboy of Palais 
Royal days, Lafayette asked that a National Assembly, repre- 
senting all classes in the kingdom, should be called. Again 
a silence of stupefaction; such a body had not met in France 
for more than a hundred-and-fifty years. 

The royal Count leaned forward in his gilded armchair; 
his plump cheeks had crimsoned. "What, Monsieur you de- 
mand the convocation of the Estates Generall" 

"Yes, Monseigneur, and even better than that," Lafayette 
replied, with significant emphasis on the final words. 

"You are willing, then, that I say to the King, 'Monsieur 
de Lafayette makes the motion to convene the Estates Gen- 
eral?' " 

"Yes, Monseigneur." 

From that time forward, Lafayette was looked upon as a 
dangerous man by the court party, the clique that sur- 
rounded the Queen. Marie Antoinette, who had smiled on 
the Marquis so graciously when she brought home his wife 
to the Rue St. Honor, saw to it that he was stripped of his 
title of Mar&hal de Camp. 

Nevertheless, within a year, so desperate was the govern- 
ment's need for money that the Estates General was sum- 
moned. The very nature of the archaic Assembly had been 
forgotten; decaying manuscripts were searched to define its 
powers and composition. Hopes for what it could accomplish, 


however, were high and there was always the hope for 
"something even better." 

The meeting of the Estates was scheduled for the spring, 
but before it met, France was devastated by a series of un- 
foreseen calamities. The harvests of 1788 shriveled under a 
scorching sun; hailstorms destroyed orchards and vineyards 
as well as fields of standing grain. The price of bread rose 
steeply; restrictions were put upon its sale, so that even guests 
in great houses were expected to bring their rolls with them 
to a dinner party. 

The population of Paris and its environs swelled alarm- 
ingly. Unemployed workers from the cities, and peasants 
from the ravaged countryside, poured into the capital. Some 
of these people came from distant provinces and spoke 
strange dialects; with their hairy faces and tattered clothing 
they seemed barely human. 

The winter that followed was colder than any living man 
could remember. Great bonfires were kept alight on the 
banks of the Seine to keep the poor from freezing to death 
and the ranks of the poor increased from day to day. Here, 
close at hand, in the very heart of the city, was a new force to 
be reckoned with, the blind, unreasoning thrust of hunger 
and nakedness. As yet the men of good will, reformers such 
as Lafayette, had not guessed or felt its power. 


The Kings Jailer 

DURING THAT COLD WINTER of 1789, Adrienne must often 
have seen the fires that burned along the river bank as 
she drove back and forth between her house in the Rue de 
Bourbon and her mother's house in the Rue St. Honor6. 
Madame d'Ayen was alone there now. All of her little girls 
were grown and married and one of them, the sister next in 
age to Adrienne, had died in the spring of 1788, leaving a 
baby daughter. 

In January, the Duchess herself came dose to dying of 
pneumonia. She made a slow recovery. One day when her 
daughters were gathered about her bed in the red tapestried 
room she spoke sadly of the troubles that might lie ahead for 
France and for her children, in particular for Adrienne's 

Gilbert du Metier was, and had always been, Madame 
d'Ayen's favorite son-in-law. She was not politically minded 
and could not fully understand all of Lafayette's "American 
ideas," but she applauded all that he had done to break down 
the barriers that divided man from man and to mitigate 



poverty. These were ills that should be fought unceasingly, 
but the battle might be long and bitter. Gilbert would be in 
the forefront of events suppose he failed, or came to harm! 

At the time Adrienne did not take these words too seri- 
ously. They were only a by-product of illness, she thought, 
of Madame d'Ayen's tendency to worry, of her dread of 
change and conflict. Later, however, Adrienne would re- 
member her mother's prophecy and when it had been made. 

In the spring, Madame d'Ayen was so much better that 
she went to recuperate at her husband's villa at Versailles, 
taking Adrienne and her family with her. In May, the Estates 
General convened in a blaze of medieval pageantry, more 
thought having been given as to how the representatives of 
the various orders in the state should dress than to how they 
should vote or carry on their business. Adrienne saw her 
husband walk in a procession that included not only the 
clergy, nobles, and commoners but the King, the Queen, and 
royal pages and royal falconers, with hawk on wrist. As a 
noble delegate from Auvergne, Lafayette was costumed in 
cloth of gold, with a plumed hat in antique style that might 
have been worn by a courtier of the seventeenth century. 

At first it seemed as if the will of the King and of the 
majority of the nobles and high ranking clergy would pre- 
vail, and that the three orders would each form a separate 
chamber. But the commoners, the Third Estates, demanded 
that there should be a single assembly in which all votes had 
equal value. Lafayette felt so strongly on this subject that he 
was ready to rush off to Auvergne to stand for re-election as 
a representative of the Third Estate, when the difficulty was 
swiftly resolved. The commoners, locked out of their meeting 
hall, refused to disband except at the point of a bayonet, 
and the King, who was always unwilling to go to extremes, 
gave ground. France's first parliament, her first National 
Assembly, came to birth. 

Within a matter of weeks the constitution that Lafayette 


had dreamed of was being written. It was not a republican 
constitution. No one, not even he, thought that that was 
possible in a country where royalty had been so long estab- 
lished. The most workable form of democracy, the best that 
could be hoped for, was a limited monarchy such as was al- 
ready in existence in England. 

During the long, hot summer months mighty changes in 
taxation and government were voted into existence and all 
feudal privileges, titles, and prerogatives were outlawed. Lafa- 
yette was elected vice-president of the new Assembly, and on 
July i ith made his maiden speech, suggesting that a Declara- 
tion of the Rights of Man, closely modeled on the American 
Bill of Rights, should be written into the constitution. 

The Assembly was debating the proposal when on July 
14th news came to Versailles that the Bastille, the Paris 
prison into which so many unfortunates had disappeared 
without trial, had fallen before the attack of an unarmed 
mob. When King Louis was told by one of his courtiers of 
what had happened he asked, "Then this is a great riot?" 

The answer was, "No, sire, this is a great revolution." 

Lafayette, and all who thought as he did, rejoiced that the 
old symbol of despotic power was gone, but he was horrified 
by the savage, wholesale massacre of the prison's defenders 
after they had surrendered and by the days and nights of 
mob slaughter and destruction that followed. He went back 
to Paris at the head of a delegation sent by the King to in- 
vestigate and at once was given the difficult and dangerous 
job of keeping order in the city. Adrienne, leaving her chil- 
dren with her mother for safe keeping until the autumn, 
soon joined him in the Rue de Bourbon. 

There, a new routine had been established. She saw even 
less of her husband than of old. Her house was even more 
crowded, even more of a public place. Uniforms and epau- 
lettes appeared in the Hotel de Lafayette; spurs jingled across 
its highly polished floors. 


Lafayette had been put in command of the Paris militia, 
and under his direction what had been a local, amateur 
police force became the well-paid, the well-equipped Na- 
tional Guard of France. He often worked round the clock, 
his days given up to active duty, his nights to administrative 
detail. Lafayette was immensely popular with his men, but 
they were an undisciplined, headstrong lot, eager to follow 
him to battle, as he told one of his American friends, but 
very reluctant to stand sentry when it rained. 

It was raining dismally on October 5th, 1789, when a 
ragged army of women and men disguised as women- 
marched on Versailles, demanding bread and the return of 
the King to Paris. They were on their way before Lafayette 
was aware that they had left the city. An even larger, a more 
menacing crowd had gathered before the Hotel de Ville and 
threatened to follow. Lafayette and his guardsmen marched 
with them, hoping to keep some sort of order and to prevent 

Night had fallen before the marchers reached the royal 
palace. A muddy, bedraggled multitude surrounded it. Camp 
fires had been lit in the Place d'Armes. Over one of them a 
horse which had been accidentally shot was being roasted 
and devoured. 

Except for the horse, there had been no casualties, though 
throughout the day there had been much wild talk, much 
drunkenness, and threats made against the Queen. In the 
popular mind the "Austrian Woman" had become a witch, 
the source of all the evils that afflicted France. Lafayette, 
however, thought that there would be no further demon- 
stration that night; the long march and the rain had had a 
subduing effect. He posted guards, found quarters for his 
troops in the city churches, and toward morning, exhausted 
by having been on his feet continuously for almost twenty- 
four hours, went to bed in the now empty Noailles mansion. 

He had less than an hour's sleep. At dawn an orderly was 


leaning over him, shaking him and shouting in his ear that 
the mob had broken into the palace and had tasted blood. 
Two of the royal guards had been killed. The Queen's bed- 
room had been invaded. She had escaped, just in time, by a 
secret staircase to the King's apartments. 

Lafayette rushed to the scene. The lower floor of the palace 
was awash with a flood of whirling, frenzied folk, while 
above, on the upper floors, the royal family and their attend- 
ants were marooned. Lafayette and his men managed to flush 
and sweep the invaders out of the building and to barricade 
the doors. 

He went out on a balcony and tried to harangue the 
crowd, but his voice could not be heard above the hubbub 
below. There was a moment's silence when the King ap- 
peared and in his dull, lethargic manner announced that he 
would do as his good people of Paris wished; he would go 
back with them to the city. There were cheers at this; there 
was a call for the Queen. She started to go out with the 
Dauphin and her daughter, but a howl went up: "The 
Queen alone no children!" 

Marie Antoinette was pale; she hesitated. Lafayette held 
out his hand to her. "Madame, will you come with me?" 

There were tears of rage and humiliation in her eyes as 
she put her hand in his. He led her out into the sunlight a 
strangely disheveled figure, still half-dressed. A petticoat and 
a yellow striped wrapper had been thrown over her night- 
gown; her hair hung loose on her shoulders. As if they were 
at the head of a line of stately dancers, Lafayette led her for- 
ward where she could be seen by the crowd. He then bowed 
elaborately and fell on one knee to kiss her hand. 

The pantomime, the touch of theater, had just the effect 
that he had hoped for. There was enthusiastic applause from 
those who only a moment earlier had wanted to disembowel 
the Queen and tear her limb from limb. There were cheers 
again when Lafayette went out on the balcony with one of 


the palace soldiers, presented him with the tricolor cockade, 
the insignia of the National Guard, and kissed the man fra- 
ternally on either cheek. 

Later in the day the royal family, escorted by Lafayette 
and the ever present mob, went back to live permanently at 
the Tuileries and the court party had its bitter say on the 
subject of Lafayette. He was nicknamed "General Morpheus" 
because he had been asleep when the mob broke into the 
palace. He was accused of being the King's jailer. 

There was only a grain of truth in the charge but appear- 
ances were against him. The removal of the seat of govern- 
ment to Paris for the Assembly soon followed the King and 
Queen to the capital had raised the Commander of the 
National Guard to a position of supreme importance. Gov- 
ernment of any sort was impossible in the midst of riot and 
confusion, and preventing riot and confusion was Lafayette's 
business. He not only protected royalty whenever it appeared 
in public, but in private he tried to persuade the King, and 
especially the Queen, to accept the new dispensation. 

Sometimes he despaired. Madame de Simiane, who had 
been influenced by the anti-Lafayette diatribes, urged her 
friend to be more respectful to his sovereigns but Lafayette 
replied that, for their own good, he was only trying to tell 
them the truth. Louis and Marie Antoinette were like 
naughty children who would not take their medicine unless 
told that the werewolf would eat them. "Believe me," he 
said, "they would have been served better by a harder man." 

Though sometimes he felt that "all hell was conspired 
against him," his self-confidence, his inborn optimism, bore 
him up against all discouragements. And, on one occasion, 
he felt that he had triumphed. On July i4th, 1790, the first 
Bastille Day, there was a glorious rally in the Champ de 
Mars, the great open parade ground on the left bank of the 
Seine, not far from the Rue de Bourbon. In the presence of 
400,000 civilians and 60,000 troops, the King and the entire 


nation swore to support the constitution that the Assembly 
was so busily writing that it could give little attention to gov- 
erning the country. Adrienne witnessed the ceremony. With 
her was her son George, who, usually kept in the back- 
ground, was allowed for once to see his father riding on his 
famous white horse, Jean Le Blanc, at the head of his guards- 
men and taking the oath at a great Altar of Liberty, twenty 
feet high, which had been set up in the middle of the field. 
To a ten-year-old boy, it was a holiday from school and a 
thrilling spectacle to Adrienne a solemn moment. With 
pride, but with dismay, she saw her husband at the head of a 
revolution that was daily becoming more complex and un- 
predictable. She completely shared Lafayette's principles and 
saw in them a fulfillment of the Christianity she so fervently 
professed. Nothing in her training or her experience, how- 
ever, had prepared her for the violence of deed and the vio- 
lence of opinion in this time of upheaval. Many aristocratic 
doors were closed to her now. There were members of her 
own family who failed to recognize her in public and who 
no longer came to the Rue de Bourbon. 

Lafayette had no sooner made it plain that he took his 
new position seriously and was determined that law should 
prevail, than attacks began upon him from the extreme left 
as well as from the right. Certain members of the Jacobin 
Club were beginning to see that the mob of Paris could be a 
useful tool for their own ends; certain radical journalists 
undertook to destroy Lafayette's popularity by a fusillade of 
newspaper articles and pamphlets that ridiculed everything 
about him, from his patriotism to his red hair. 

He was said to be the Queen's lover certainly a shot that 
was wide of the mark. His love affair with Agla de Hunol- 
stein was disinterred and given as the reason for his hostility 
to the Due de Chartres, now the Due d'Orleans, whom Lafa- 
yette suspected of having instigated the hunger march on 


Versailles and other outbreaks in the hope that the King 
might be deposed so that he, the Duke, might seat himself 
upon the throne. Adrienne herself was brought into the lime- 
light when a lurid account was given of the loose morals as 
well as of the overzealous piety of "General Redhead's 

In policing the city, Lafayette was often called upon to 
protect priests and church property. The church had been 
nationalized; the clergy were forced to take an oath of alle- 
giance to the state and many of them resisted on grounds of 
conscience. Adrienne strongly sympathized with these rebels 
to an authority that they would not recognize. She was will- 
ing to discuss the matter with those who had conformed and 
would let them state their views, but she made a point of 
being present at her parish church of St. Sulpice when a 
nonjuring priest denounced the oath from the pulpit. She 
and her mother took part in a correspondence with the 
Vatican in a vain attempt to prevent a break between France 
and the Holy See. 

Once Adrienne felt that she had to take a stand that might 
seem disloyal to Gilbert. Lafayette had invited the Bishop of 
Paris to dinner. Adrienne was sure that the bishop, who had 
just conspicuously taken the oath, was coming not as a private 
individual nor as a churchman, but as a politician seeking to 
identify himself with Lafayette. That day Adrienne spent in 
the Rue St. Honor6, though her empty place at the head of 
her own table was noticed and unfavorably commented 

Above all, throughout these troubled, swift-moving weeks 
and months, Adrienne feared for her husband's safety. Lafa- 
yette had to deal constantly with crowds that were very dif- 
ferent from the good humored, sentimental folk who shed 
tears in the Rue St. Honor6 when they saw him greet his 
wife. Sometimes he was able to talk to them, or even to 
trick them, as at Versailles, into good behavior; more often 


he and his men had to use the forward rush of their horses 
and the flat of their swords. Each time that he was called 
out on an emergency and he was on call at all hours 
Adrienne felt that he was in far greater danger than when 
he was fighting the British three thousand miles away in 

She had a brief respite from her worries when, in April 
of 1791, Lafayette gave up his command of the National 

It had been announced that the King was to go to St. 
Cloud for Easter Mass. There was a rumor that he might be 
leaving the city, or even that he might be leaving France. 
When Lafayette arrived at the Tuileries to escort the royal 
carriage he found a noisy crowd packed so closely in the 
courtyard that the carriage could not move. Again the King 
yielded to popular demand and gave up his expedition, 
though Lafayette urged him to persist. 

Disgusted by Louis' weakness and by the insubordination 
of his troops, for some of them had sided openly with the 
mob, Lafayette sent in his resignation to the Hotel de Ville. 
He quitted his house in the Rue de Bourbon to escape being 
asked to reconsider, and Adrienne was left to deal with the 
contrite delegation of officers and officials of the Paris Com- 
mune that tramped into her salon. 

She knew how each of the guardsmen had behaved at the 
moment of crisis. Some she greeted cordially, to others she 
was only coldly polite. As she listened to their arguments, 
she hoped that her husband would stand firm against their 
pleas, but four days later Lafayette again took up his burden 
and Adrienne hers, of being constantly alert to danger. 
Familiar sounds could make her tremble; the clatter of 
horses hoofs in the courtyard of the hotel, a midnight knock 
upon the door, the hurry of footsteps down a corridor. 

Her fears gave her no rest. They reached their climax on 


July i7th, 1791, when yet another, a more disastrous riot 
occurred on the Champ de Mars. 

Again it was the position of the King and Lafayette's 
guardianship of him that was the cause. On June 2oth, Louis 
and Marie Antoinette had actually tried to slip out of the 
country; they were arrested, at Lafayette's command, and 
were brought back to the Tuileries. On July i7th, a petition 
was laid on the great Altar of Liberty in the center of the 
Field of Mars, calling for Louis' dethronement. 

The day was Sunday. A crowd gathered. A few people had 
come to sign the petition and many more to see what would 
happen next, for the Mayor of Paris had forbidden the dem- 

Suddenly a woman screamed. She was standing on the 
wooden platform beside the Altar and felt something sharp 
prick through the sole of her shoe and pierce her foot. The 
point of a gimlet protruded from the flooring. Excitement 
soared as two men were dragged out from the hole under 
the Altar. They had a keg with them which they protested 
had nothing in it but drinking water. They were apparently 
making a hole in the floor so that they might take turns in 
squinting up for a worm's eye view of the undergarments 
of female signers of the petition. 

No one believed their bizarre story or gave them time to 
prove it. The keg, someone shouted, must be full of gun- 
powder; the hole was a duct for the fuse that would set off 
the bomb just when it could do the most damage. The two 
men, both of them were old and unable to defend them- 
selves, were buffeted about by the crowd. They went down 
under blows from every side. In a few minutes all that was 
left of them were some shreds of clothing, some bloody frag- 
ments of trampled flesh and two heads bobbing about on 


This happened early in the day. Lafayette was summoned. 
By the time he reached the Champ de Mars the heads had 
been carried off the field and the affair seemed to be over. 
He returned to his home, but at eight o'clock in the evening 
he was again sent for. 

And from eight o'clock onward, Adrienne was in torment. 
Earlier in the day a bullet, fired by a sniper, had whizzed 
past Gilbert's ear and now she expected that there would be 
further gunplay. Recently a law had been passed by the 
Assembly that in case of serious disturbance, a red flag should 
be hung from the Hotel de Ville, the riot act should be read 
aloud three times, and then, if the crowd did not disperse, 
the troops were to fire. 

As she waited anxiously in her quiet house, its windows 
open to the warm summer air, Adrienne heard the sound of 
distant firing a single volley, then, after an interval, a 
second. Later she was to learn that the first salvo had gone 
over the heads of the crowd, which stood its ground and an- 
swered with catcalls and a shower of stones. The second 
volley took effect, and at least a dozen people, but probably 
more, fell. Looking out of the window, Adrienne saw for it 
was still light people running wildly through the street. 
She judged rightly that the mob had been deflected from the 
Champ de Mars and that the danger there was over. 

But the danger had only shifted ground. The street filled 
rapidly from end to end with a shrieking, jostling crowd that 
pressed about the closed gates leading into the courtyard. 
The terrified servants came flocking to Adrienne from all 
parts of the house. Anastasie and Virginie followed their 
mother's small, determined figure as she hurried about, re- 
assuring the more hysterical members of her household and 
seeing that doors were barred and windows closed and shut- 
tered. Even so, one could hear the tumult from without and 
soon one of the most terrible of all sounds a crowd shouting 


with a single voice, shouting for revenge and the head of the 
wife of Lafayette. 

Before he galloped off that evening, Lafayette had posted 
a double guard at the doors of the house. The men how 
pitifully few they now seemed! were drawn up in battle 
line in the courtyard, but they could not protect the entire 
building. The windows of Adrienne's private sitting room 
on the ground floor looked out on a garden and beyond it to 
the Square of the Palais Bourbon. It was here that the first 
assault was made. Some of the rioters had climbed over the 
garden wall and were advancing on the house when a little 
troop of cavalry swooped into the square and charged the 
crowd, which dispersed as quickly as it had gathered. The 
Rue de Bourbon was cleared, the attacking force in the gar- 
den melted away, and in a very short time all that was to 
be seen of it were a few flying figures disappearing into the 
dusky side streets leading off the square. 

The threat to the house had come and gone like a whirl- 
wind, but it had left its mark on Adrienne and even more 
deeply on her youngest child. Virginie-- little Virginie-- 
who was not yet nine years old, would remember to the end 
of her life the terrible cries she heard from the street and 
the way in which her mother reacted to them. Tears, tears 
of relief and almost of joy, were trickling down Adrienne's 
cheeks as she threw her arms protectively about her little 
girls and cried, "At least your father is safel At least he is 

Oddly enough, a period of peace followed the riot in 
the Champ de Mars, which the radical press promptly 
magnified into a massacre. The Jacobins who were chiefly 
responsible for laying the petition on the Altar Marat, the 
journalist, Danton, Desmoulins, and Robespierre disap- 
peared from Paris and went into hiding. They soon returned, 


however, to blacken the name of Lafayette. In the Jacobin 
Club he was branded as an "assassin of the people." A pam- 
phlet detailing his crimes "only since the Revolution" was 
circulated, as well as caricatures of him hanging from a 

On the other hand, the Assembly publicly thanked him 
and the National Guard for the action it had taken and, 
unperturbed, went back to putting the final touches to the 
constitution which had been so long in the making. On 
September igth, the document was submitted to King Louis, 
who, in chastened mood, declared that he would accept it, 
maintain it at home, and defend it from attack abroad. On 
the 24th, he went before the Assembly to take the oath, not 
from a throne, but from an ordinary armchair placed to the 
left of the presiding officer. 

Again the constitutionalists exulted. They felt that at last 
their goal had been reached. The King was not an ideal 
monarch, but he was better, they said, than any other in 
Europe he had learned his lesson. Royal power had been 
curbed; all Frenchmen were now equal before the law; pros- 
perity would return and disorders would gradually die away. 
So deeply ingrained was the idea of kingship in the French 
mentality that shouts of "vive le roi" were heard once more 
in the streets of Paris and even Robespierre said in a speech 
before the Jacobin Club that the revolution was over. The 
Club, however, must continue its work of keeping patriotism 
at a high level in the country. 

Lafayette had long thought that this would be the proper 
moment for him to retire from public life, or at least to take 
an extended holiday. He had never accepted any remunera- 
tion for his work and he had never aspired to office. He 
would again resign his command of the National Guard and 
this time the severance would be lasting. He would go to 
spend the winter at his boyhood home, Chavaniac in 


Adrienne was overjoyed. She, too, was in need of a holiday, 
for her years in the Rue de Bourbon had always been strenu- 
ous; of late they had been harrowing. She would be sorry to 
say goodbye to her mother, but their parting would be brief. 
The Duchess promised to come soon for a visit at Chavaniac. 
Adrienne also contracted for a visit from her dearly loved 
sister, Louise de Noailles. 

On October 8th, Lafayette said a formal farewell to his 
troops at the Hotel de Ville. There was a flurry of speech- 
making and testimonials. His men gave him a sword, the 
hilt of which had been forged from metal salvaged from the 
ruins of the Bastille. The Commune of Paris ordered a gold 
medal to be struck in his honor and gave him a bust of 
General Washington by Houdon. 

That same afternoon the Lafayettes, all but George, who 
would follow a few weeks later with his tutor, Monsieur 
Frestel, left Paris. Adrienne had been busy, as any housewife 
would, in making arrangements for a long-term shift from 
city to country living. The baggage vans were packed. The 
great house in the Rue de Bourbon was shrouded and 
handed over to a small staff of caretakers. 

Adrienne left it without regret. She saw ahead of her 
something that she had always yearned for: a quiet family 
life, away from murderous crowds, away from politics, and 
the endless round of social obligations, away, in short, from 
everything, including the fascinating Madame de Simiane, 
that kept her husband from her. Nine years and more had 
gone by since Lafayette's return from America. Adrienne 
would soon be thirty-two, and it seemed as if she might at 
last have Gilbert not entirely, but a little to herself. 


October, 1791 October, 1792 


The House in the Hills 

>TIHE JOURNEY TO AUVERGNE was to be made in a fleet of 
X light carriages, better suited to the rough provincial roads 
than a heavy, cumbersome coach. In the first carriage rode 
Adrienne and Lafayette, in the second Anastasie, Virginie, 
and a little pinched, dried-up elderly lady, Mademoiselle 
Marin, who had once been governess to the Duchesse d'Ayen's 
children in the Hotel de Noailles and who was now in charge 
of Adrienne's daughters. Other carriages followed, filled with 
all the servants who could be persuaded to leave Paris for a 
winter in the country. 

Chavaniac is only some four hundred miles to the south 
and slightly to the east of Paris, but the Lafayettes took a 
full ten days to get there. They passed through Fontaine- 
bleau, skirted the rich valley of the Loire, and soon were 
moving through the hills that were familiar to Lafayette as 
a boy. Auvergne is a beautiful, an eerie region, with its 
forests, its deep-cut river gorges and towering rock forma- 
tions. On the cliffs above the winding road perched frag- 
ments of ruined castles that had been destroyed more than 



a century earlier when the power of feudal robber barons 
was broken by the crown. 

In towns along the way, there were frequent halts for 
festivities. Auvergne was proud of its illustrious son and gave 
him the sort of wholehearted welcome that recently had been 
lacking in Paris. Lafayette had to listen to elaborate, lauda- 
tory speeches, to walk bareheaded in ceremonial processions, 
and to drink ceremonial draughts of wine. The carriages 
were forever filled with flowers. When they left the city of 
Clermont it was after nightfall, and ahead of them moved a 
long, glittering line of mounted National Guardsmen, swing- 
ing torches. At Brioude, the nearest large town to Chavaniac, 
a triumphal arch had been raised. 

On the i8th of October, the end of the pilgrimage came 
in sight. The chateau of Chavaniac stood and still stands 
on the slope of a hill, commanding a view of distant moun- 
tains, a long, massive building, with turrets at either end. 
Beneath it nestles a village of some forty or fifty houses. 
Adrienne knew it well, for she had traveled this way more 
than once and, while Lafayette was in America in 1784, had 
spent an entire summer at Chavaniac. 

She was well-acquainted therefore, with the doughty old 
lady who was now the sole occupant of the chateau, an aunt 
of Lafayette, who had helped to bring him up and who was 
the mother of the little girl cousin with whom he had played 
in childhood. Madame de Chavaniac she, like Louise de 
Noailles, had married a near relative and so had preserved 
her maiden name was long a widow and long childless. Her 
daughter had married and died in childbirth soon after 
Lafayette left for his first adventure overseas. All her emo- 
tionsand they could be violent when aroused were 
centered on the male members of her family, living and 
dead: on Lafayette and his son George; on Lafayette's father, 
her brother, who had been killed thirty-two years ago at the 
Battle of Minden, 


The old lady's greeting to the travelers was fervent. She 
thanked God for all his mercies. As she embraced her adored 
nephew, she cried out in her deep and far from feeble voice, 
"I never thought that I would live to see you againl" 

Two weeks after the Lafayette carriages drove into the 
courtyard of the chateau, the Duchesse d'Ayen arrived, fol- 
lowed soon by Louise de Noailles. They had not traveled 
together because Madame d'Ayen had stopped at Plauzat, 
not far from Clermont, to visit another of her brood, Pauline, 
the Marquise de Montagu. A few days later to Madame de 
Chavaniac's great delight George and his tutor appeared. 
The family circle was complete. Not for years had the old 
house in the hills been so full of people and activity. 

The children were enchanted to find themselves free to 
roam wherever they would, unsupervised. The Duchesse 
d'Ayen was always happiest when she was with them and 
with her daughters; she found Madame de Chavaniac con- 
genial. At Plauzat one could no longer go to Mass, and there 
was a hall close to the chateau where meetings of a club, 
affiliated with the Jacobin Club of Paris, were held. The 
excited shouts of debate were plainly audible in Pauline de 
Montagu's sitting room. Here at Chavaniac, the Duchess was 
pleased to find that the village cur6 was living in the chateau 
and that the little church at the foot of the hill was full of 
worshippers on Sunday. 

A strong feeling of good will existed between those who 
lived in the village and those who lived in the castle. As a 
boy, Lafayette had accepted all the riches that came to him 
without question, but later he had learned to be a good land- 
lord. One year when the crops failed in Auvergne, he dis- 
tributed his grain gratis instead of holding it for a high price. 
He had established a doctor in the town and had built a 
good road leading to it so that weekly market fairs could be 
held. Nearby, at St. Georges d'Aurac, was the weaving school 
he had founded. From England, Lafayette had imported 


blooded cattle and hogs to improve the local breed, as well 
as a trained agriculturist to superintend his farms. 

He wrote to Madame de Simiane that the changes he 
found in Chavaniac were all for the good. In the old days 
when he, the lord of the manor, walked abroad, everyone 
took off their hats to bow to him. Now it was he who bowed 
to the representative of constituted law, Dr. Guitandry, the 
village mayor. 

There was much for Lafayette to do beside write to Mad- 
ame de Simiane. He had sent an architect down from Paris 
who was already at work with his assistant on plans for re- 
modelling the chateau. It had been built originally as a forti- 
fied place, with small concern for comfort. There was a great 
vaulted guardroom on the ground floor. A spacious circular 
staircase led up grandly to the second floor, where the family 
would live and try to keep warm during the winter months 
when snow lay thick on the roofs and cold winds blew down 
through the crevices of the hills. There were already many 
family portraits in the house, but Lafayette had ordered nine 
pictures to be painted of the principal scenes of the revolu- 
tion. Eventually they would hang in what he was pleased to 
call "the Washington Gallery." 

Seeing her husband so absorbed in his projects and appar- 
ently so contented, surrounded herself by so many people 
whom she loved, Adrienne felt that it was time to relax and 
enjoy herself. She was surprised to find how difficult that 
was. She was not often troubled by haphazard moods of de- 
pression. Perhaps it was merely physical fatigue that ac- 
counted for her low spirits or was it a presentiment that this 
blissful state of affairs was too good to be true or lasting? 

Adrienne was relieved when Lafayette gracefully declined 
a position on the Council of the Haute Loire to which he had 
been elected, on the grounds that it would take him away too 
often from his home. Less reassuring was a speech he made 
to a large contingent of the National Guard that visited the 


chateau. Lafayette said that he was charmed to find himself 
a private citizen; the only thing that could draw him out of 
his retirement was the possibility of France being attacked 
by some foreign power. This remark echoed an incident of 
the trip from Paris that at the time had troubled Adrienne 
and accounted in part, for her present sense of insecurity. 

She, as well as her mother, had expected to visit Pauline 
de Montagu on her way to Chavaniac. Devoted though she 
was to Louise, Adrienne was also fond of her two younger 
sisters, and particularly of Pauline, who was seven years her 
junior. One could not help loving Pauline. She was as caress- 
able and impulsive as a child. Like all the d'Ayen daughters, 
she was devout and was almost absurdly concerned with 
scruples as to right and wrong doing that had once been 
discussed by young philosophers in the red tapestried bed- 
room of the Hotel de Noailles. 

The two sisters had seen little of one another lately. Since 
her marriage in 1783, Pauline had lived with her father-in- 
law, the Vicomte de Beaune, an irascible gentleman of the 
old school. He was an uncompromising royalist and, like all 
of the breed, had come to disapprove violently of the con- 
stitution and of Lafayette, the King's jailer. Even when 
Adrienne went without her husband to see her sister in Paris, 
the Vicomte would stalk from the room without speaking to 
her, banging the door behind him. 

The old gentleman was well out of the way now. He had 
left for Coblentz in February, following in the footsteps of 
so many other nobles who had bolted across the Rhine imme- 
diately after the fall of the Bastille. Pauline and her husband, 
Joachim, had been staying all the spring and summer in 
Auvergne, and it had seemed the perfect moment for a re- 
union. Before leaving Paris, Adrienne wrote suggesting that 
she and her family should stop for a few days at Plauzat on 
their way south. 

The letter that had come back to her was tear-stained. 


Tears came easily to Pauline. Except for her baby daughter, 
Noemi, she wrote, she was alone at Plauzat, Joachim having 
gone on a brief trip to Paris. There was nothing that she 
would like better than to have a visit from Adrienne and 
Gilbert, but she still lived in fear of her trigger-tempered 
father-in-law. If the Vicomte de Beaune should ever hear 
that she had entertained the renegade Marquis de Lafayette 
in his chateau, he was quite capable of putting her out on 
the doorstep and having nothing more to do with her. 

But Pauline couldn't bear to have her sister pass her by. 
She had an urgent reason for wanting to see Adrienne, even 
if it was only for a very few minutes, and said that she would 
come to meet the Lafayettes at the posting station at Vaire, 
near Plauzat, where they would have to stop to change horses. 

When the travelers drew into the town, however their 
journey then was nearly over there was no sign of Pauline. 
Vaire was so small that it could be taken in almost at a 
glance. A servant came out of the inn to tell Adrienne that 
there was a lady inside who wanted to speak to her. 

Adrienne and Lafayette entered. They found Pauline wait- 
ing for them in a dark little private room into which she 
had popped directly from her carriage, not wanting to be 
recognized. Even smaller than Adrienne, Pauline closely re- 
sembled her sister; they both had inherited their mother's 
white skin and her beautiful dark eyes. 

Pauline's eyes were wet as she rushed into Adrienne's arms. 
How sad it was, she cried, that they should have to meet in 
this fashion and who knows when or where they would 
meet again! Pauline had a confession to make that she knew 
would distress her sister and brother-in-law. It was this that 
had brought her to the posting station. She herself would 
soon be leaving the country. She and Joachim were about 
to emigrate. 

Emigrate the very word had taken on a new, an emo- 
tional significance even before the King's attempt to escape 


from France. The number of Frenchmen who had gone to 
the Rhineland since the fall of the Bastille was not large in 
proportion to the total population, but among the emigrants 
were the King's two brothers, the Comte de Provence and 
the Comte d'Artois, who were loudly demanding the armed 
help of the sovereigns of Europe in restoring absolute 
monarchy in France. The military forces that had been 
gathering at Coblentz and Worms were a threat to the new 
regime that Lafayette and his friends had struggled to create 
against so many internal difficulties a threat of which they 
were only too well aware. 

It was some comfort to learn that the de Montagus were 
not going to the Rhineland but to England. All last winter, 
to emigrate or not to emigrate had been a smouldering ques- 
tion in the household of the Vicomte de Beaune. Joachim 
had taken the view that the royalists should stay at home; if 
they sought foreign aid in solving their domestic problems 
they might have to pay dearly for it later. There were many 
painful scenes, the old man violently abusive, the young man 
pale with anger but trying to keep a curb on his temper and 
maintain the respectful tone that every French son should 
use in speaking to his father. 

Pauline had been much too timid to express her own opin- 
ion, but secretly she agreed with her father-in-law. Without 
sharing his personal hatreds, she, too, was a royalist and, 
with the noisy shouts of Jacobins continually in her ears at 
Plauzat, thought it was high time to leave France. For 
months she had been gently trying to sell the idea to Joachim. 

She had read aloud to him all the discouraging news in 
the Paris newspapers. He had begun to weaken a little after 
that dreadful affair in the Champ de Mars that might have 
cost Adrienne her life, but he didn't really succumb until 
word came from Germany that his poor old father might die 
of a broken heart because of his son's stubbornness. Joachim 
felt that in quitting the country he was a martyr to filial 


duty, but that in going to England he was sticking by his 
principles. He was now in Paris making preparations for a 
quiet trip across the Channel with his wife and child. 

All of this was briefly told in the dark little inn at Vaire 
in the short time it took to take one set of horses out of the 
carriages and harness up another. Lafayette said that he dis- 
approved entirely of what Pauline and her husband were 
doing, but he would always continue to love his little sister- 
in-law. He kissed her very affectionately at parting. 

Adrienne, more profoundly stirred, clung to Pauline until 
the last moment. She promised to write as often as she could. 
Pauline promised too, for, though they were now definitely 
on opposite sides of the fence, they must try to keep in touch 
with one another. 

Remembering later that brief rendezvous at Vaire, Adri- 
enne realized how easily, how inexorably, Lafayette might 
be swept out of this quiet backwater of Chavaniac. She 
could not unburden herself to her mother because she dis- 
covered that her mother knew nothing of Pauline's plans. 
Pauline apparently could not bring herself to tell her news 
a second time. 

But the autumn days continued to pass peacefully; the 
first snow had fallen, and Adrienne was just beginning to 
regain confidence in the future when the blow fell, the blow 
that had fallen so often in the past. In mid-December a 
courier, wearing the royal colors, arrived at Chavaniac with 
a dispatch for Lafayette. Lafayette had been put in com- 
mand of a section of the regular army. No war had been 
declared, but France was mobilizing. 

There was no question of refusing to answer this call to 
arms. Lafayette, as always when action lay ahead, was full of 
enthusiasm. War had no terrors for him. He felt that a sense 
of emergency might unite the nation. Just before Christmas 
of 1791, only two months after his arrival, he left the chateau, 
taking with him his valet, Chavaniac, who was the son of the 


village tailor, and a boy named F&ix Pontonnier, the coach- 
man's son, whom Lafayette had educated to be his secretary. 

All over France there were similar partings. At al- 
most the same moment, Pauline de Montagu was writing to 
Adrienne and her mother on the eve of her departure from 
Paris. The snow was falling there also. For the last time 
Pauline went to Mass with her younger sister, Rosalie de 
Gramniont. Many of the churches in Paris were closed, the 
pulpits of the few that were open being occupied by priests 
who had taken the required oath. The sisters went to a 
private house where services were being held in secret, hop- 
ing that their footprints in the snow would not betray them. 

The following day, very early, before it was light, Rosalie 
came, her cloak powdered white with flakes, to say goodbye. 
She and Pauline took care to be very casual in the presence 
of the servants, who thought that the young master and mis- 
tress were just going away for a few days and would soon be 

When Joachim had gone downstairs, carrying the baby 
Noemi, who had been taken out of her crib and was still 
asleep, Rosalie drew Pauline aside and in a whisper asked 
if she was sure she hadn't forgotten something. "Of course, 
you are taking your diamonds with you." 

"Why should I?" Pauline asked. "I wouldn't wear them. 
We won't be going to any grand parties in England." 

"Poor darling all the more reason why you should take 

Pauline saw that Rosalie was more realistic than she, that 
this might be a long absence, that some day she might need 
the money that the diamonds represented. Picking up her 
jewel box, she hid it under her cloak as she went downstairs 
to join her husband in the carriage that would take them to 


A Waiting Time 

FOR A SHORT WHILE after Lafayette's departure, the 
Duchesse d'Ayen and Louise de Noailles stayed on at 
Chavaniac. It meant much to Adrienne that her mother 
should be with her at such a time, her mother who had 
comforted her all during the years that Gilbert spent in 
America. Louise's presence was also a consolation. Louise 
was gentle and serene the angel of the d'Ayen family. In 
childhood she and Adrienne, being so nearly of an age, had 
shared all the pleasures and pains of their growing years. 
Their marriages had drawn them even closer, for Louis de 
Noailles, Louise's husband, went to America with Lafayette 
in 1780 and came home an ardent liberal a fayettist, as 
Lafayette's sympathizers were sometimes called. 

Unless they were willing to take the risk of being snowed 
in for days at a time, however, Adrienne's guests could not 
linger indefinitely. The Duchess began to be restless so far 
from home and was anxious to be in Paris because her 
youngest child, Rosalie de Grammont, was pregnant and 
close to term. Louise had also to get back to her husband, 



who would soon be called into service, and to her three small 
children, Alexis, Alfred, and Euph&nie. 

Adrienne saw first her mother and then her sister go. 
Again she expected that the separation would not be long, 
for she hoped that in the spring she would go to Paris, or 
perhaps to join her husband somewhere in the north. 

There was a sense of loneliness, however, of isolation in 
this remote and mountainous region, after the last carriage 
had driven off. Adrienne was on the best of terms with Aunt 
Chavaniac, but the old lady's views on almost every subject 
were positive and antiquated. Her horizon was limited; for 
years she had gone no farther from the chateau than to the 
village church. The youngest members of the family, George 
and Virginie, were cheerful folk to have about the house, 
but they were absorbed in the world of childhood, which is 
a world apart. For adult companionship, Adrienne turned 
to her older daughter Anastasie. Anastasie was fourteen now, 
almost a young lady. An observant, imaginative girl, she 
was proud to be made her mother's confidante. She and 
Adrienne had always been intimate, but now a very special, 
a woman-to-woman relationship developed. 

This was to be a time, a slow moving time, when one 
waited from day to day, from week to week, for news that 
letters from Paris and the Paris journals might bring. Adri- 
enne heard from her mother and sisters frequently, and 
from Lafayette. He was sometimes in the capital, camping 
out in the deserted house in the Rue de Bourbon, and some- 
times moving about from one army post to another. 

On Christmas Day of 1791, Lafayette rode out of Paris on 
his way to Metz, escorted to the barrier by cheering National 
Guardsmen. He was as gay, one of Adrienne's correspondents 
wrote, as if he were going to a wedding. 

But his new command, he soon discovered, was far in- 
ferior to the fine military force he had himself built up. The 


line soldiers were poorly clothed and poorly armed. Disci- 
pline was slack. France had been so long at peace that forti- 
fications near the frontier were in bad repair and there was 
a great shortage of trained officers, fully a third having gone 
across the Rhine. 

In Paris the situation had deteriorated. The Assembly 
which had written the constitution had dissolved itself and 
passed a law denying to its members the right to stand for 
reelection in the new Assembly which began its sittings in 
October. This body was dominated by members of the Ja- 
cobin Club, and even more so by a group of fiery represent- 
atives from the Gironde, disciples of Rousseau, with a lively 
antipathy to all aristocrats. Girondists were soon given min- 
isterial rank. Lafayette was under frequent attack in the 
Assembly and in Marat's sheet, The People's Friend. His 
popular following had steadily declined since the "massacre" 
in the Champ de Mars. 

The drift toward war was constant and compelling. All 
factions, except the extreme radicals led by Marat and 
Robespierre, looked to it as a solution rather than a catas- 
trophe. Throughout the winter, administrative and economic 
affairs were allowed to run to ruin as the debate on foreign 
policy rose and fell, and rose again. 

A demand was made that the Austrian Emperor should 
withdraw his troops from the borderline of France and that 
the 6migr6 forces should be expelled from the Rhineland. 
It was disregarded. At last, prodded by his advisers, King 
Louis appeared before the Assembly and in a feeble voice 
asked that war be declared on Austria, the homeland of his 
wife. The vote on the motion that followed was almost unan- 

By that time, April s>oth, the winter was over. There were 
a few skirmishes with the enemy, a brief and unhappy excur- 
sion into Belgian territory. Adrienne read with horror that 
a high officer, a general in Lafayette's division, had been 


killed. After the French forces had retired there came a lull 
in hostilities but how long would that continue? 

Because of his lack of military success, the cry was raised 
that Lafayette was holding his fire and was dallying with the 
enemy. Just how far this Jacobin hate propaganda had 
spread was demonstrated to Adrienne when, in the early 
spring of 1792, a battalion of volunteers from the Gironde 
on its way to the front appeared in the village. Some of the 
townspeople came to her and told her that the troops were 
in an ugly mood. When they learned that the chateau up 
there on the hill belonged to Lafayette there was talk of 
burning it to the ground. 

Adrienne took prompt action. She sent word that the men 
were to be well fed at her expense and invited the officers to 
dinner at the chateau. The dinner was so pleasant and har- 
monious, the hostess so tactful and charming, that there was 
no more anti-Lafayette talk while the Girondists remained 
in the town. 

And now it was June, June 2Oth, 1792. In Auvergne, sum- 
mer was ripening, in Paris, the weather was already sultry. 
A demonstration took place, unpremeditated, perhaps half 
ludicrous, yet altogether sinister in its implications. A crowd 
from the poorest sections of Paris and its suburbs frisked 
through the Assembly hall, just across the garden from the 
Tuileries. The proceedings of the Assembly were halted 
while the fa Ira was sung and danced about a pair of 
breeches swinging from a pole and a calf's heart skewered on 
a pike and labelled "the Heart of an Aristocrat." Greetings 
were shouted to leftist members and threats and insults to 
the right. A speech was made, complaining that the French 
army was not fighting as it should and that the King was not 
living up to his end of the constitution. 

Then why not visit the King himself? Toward four in the 


afternoon the crowd streamed across the garden to the palace. 
The gate, for some mysterious reason, was unbolted and un- 
guarded. The mob surged in and up the great staircase, carry- 
ing, along with various crude, homemade weapons, a full 
sized cannon. For hours Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette 
were trapped, he standing on a bench in the embrasure of a 
window, she and the little Dauphin wedged in a corner be- 
hind a table. No harm was done them, but they were freed 
only when the demonstrators were worn out with the heat 
and acrobatics of the day and drifted off to visit other sec- 
tions of the palace. 

As soon as he heard of this affair, Lafayette left his camp 
at Sedan and hurried back to the capital. On June 2 8th, he 
appeared unexpectedly before the Assembly to protest the 
insult to the crown and to the governing body. He demanded 
the closing of the Jacobin Club. There were a few cheers 
when he strode into the hall, but a motion was brought by 
the left and lost to censure him for having quitted his 
troops even for a few days without permission. 

That night the house in the Rue de Bourbon was again 
picketed by National Guardsmen. Lafayette intended to ap- 
pear at a review that was scheduled for the following day 
and to make a speech that would recall the Guard to a sense 
of responsibility for keeping order. But morale in the corps 
had declined. So few appeared at the rally that the review 
was cancelled. 

Lafayette, during this brief visit to Paris, also had an au- 
dience with the King and Queen, in a last attempt to gain 
their confidence, to save them from the werewolf that threat- 
ened to devour them, the Paris mob. He urged them to leave 
the city and to go to Compifegne, well to the east of Paris, 
where they would be under cover of his army. 

But he might have saved his breath. The Queen had never 
forgotten her humiliation at Versailles. She was reported to 


have said later that she would rather die than owe her life 
a second time to Lafayette. 

Adrienne learned of all of these events, not only from the 
newspapers, but from the repercussions in her own family. 
Soon after the outbreak of June soth, the Duchesse d'Ayen 
moved out of the Hotel de Noailles, so dangerously close to 
the Tuileries, and went to stay with Rosalie de Grammont 
in a little house in the Faubourg St. Germain. The Due 
d'Ayen, who had been in Switzerland, ostensibly for his 
health, hurried home a quixotic gesture; he had formerly 
been officer of the King's bodyguard and felt that it was his 
personal duty to protect the King. Word came from England 
that Pauline de Montagu and her husband, who were sor- 
rowing for the death of their baby Noemi, had gone to the 
continent. Joachim had at last decided that the time had 
come for him to join his father and the &nigr army on the 

For Adrienne herself there was a difficult decision to be 
made. Lafayette wrote to her to come to him at Sedan. The 
impulse to bundle herself and her children into a carriage 
and to set off at once was almost irresistible. But a family 
and even a wife, if she went alone would be an encum- 
brance to a general who might go into action at any mo- 
ment. Adrienne, also, had been stung by the attacks on her 
husband's patriotism in the press. Fresh ammunition would 
be supplied if it became known that Lafayette was taking 
special precautions for his nearest and dearest. And there 
was Madame de Chavaniac; it would be brutal to leave her 
here at the mercy of the next band of incendiaries who hap- 
pened to visit the village. 

For weeks Adrienne could not bear to say a definite no, 
and during those weeks the collapse of all that Lafayette had 
worked for in his country first loomed and then became a 
certainty. On August loth, another day of intense heat in 


Paris, the Tuileries was invaded for a second time. There 
was nothing slipshod about this attack. It had been well or- 
ganizedand even well advertised in advance. 

At an early hour the streets were flooded with people. The 
poor folk from the suburbs were there again, but many of 
them were well armed, and among the insurgents was a lit- 
tle band of patriots who had marched up through the heart 
of France from Marseilles, shouting a new, a magnificent 
battle song that spoke of a day of glory, of tyranny affronted, 
and a blood red flag. 

The royal family, forewarned, left the palace and took 
refuge with the Assembly. The birds having flown, it seemed 
for a moment as if this affair might fizzle out, as if this might 
be another June 2Oth. Again the crowd swept into the pal- 
ace. The men from Marseilles rushed up the staircase, but 
this time their way was blocked. At the top of the stairs the 
palace guards were stationed Swiss mercenaries, but brave. 
A hand to hand struggle began and soon became a slaughter, 
in which nine hundred and fifty armed men and even the 
lackeys and the cooks in the royal kitchen were butchered. 
The streets surrounding the palace were littered with corpses. 
Smoke billowed from the stables which had been set ablaze. 
Until ten o'clock in the evening firing continued. 

Several of Adrienne's near relatives were at the Tuileries 
on that terrible day of August loth, and all miraculously 
escaped. Her father had followed the King into the Assembly 
hall. Her brother-in-law, Theodule de Grammont, Rosalie's 
husband, was given up by his family for dead until late in 
the day. He had spent several hours hiding in a chimney 
when the massacre was at its height and after dark arrived 
unhurt at the house in the Faubourg St. Germain. 

Letters from Rosalie and her mother, written that very 
night, told Adrienne of these escapes, but from Lafayette she 
heard nothing then, or in the days that followed. For news 
of him she had to rely on the printed word and the time 


lag in communication was cruel. There were reports that 
Lafayette was organizing a counterrevolution in the Ar- 
dennes, that he would march on Paris to restore the constitu- 
tion. The King and Queen had been imprisoned in the 
Temple. The Assembly, now completely under the control 
of the Jacobins, had declared Lafayette a traitor to the new- 
born French Republic, soon to be proclaimed. Commission- 
ers had been sent to Sedan to arrest him and to bring him 
back to Paris for trial. A price had been set upon his head. 
For more than two weeks after the loth of August, all at 
Chavaniac were kept in ignorance and Adrienne in a blind- 
ing agony of suspense. 


The Best of News 

26iH OF AUGUST was a Sunday. After dinner all the 
A family were gathered in Adrienne's sitting room, one of 
the few rooms in the chateau that had been completely re- 
decorated and refurnished with modern furniture that had 
come from Paris. The room was very quiet. Conversation 
had died a dwindling death. All eyes were fixed on Adri- 
enne. That morning she had sent a man to Brioude to ask 
for letters, and any moment now Michel could be expected 
to appear. 

Madame de Chavaniac, very gloomy, sighed occasionally. 
Close beside her was her faithful handmaiden, Mademoiselle 
Maillard and next to her was Mademoiselle Marin, Anas- 
tasie's and Virginie's governess. Virginie and George were 
whispering softly to one another in a corner. Monsieur F61ix 
Frestel, George's tutor, was stretched out in an armchair, 
absentmindedly turning over an old book of riddles. Also 
present, and also silent out of respect for the lady of the 
house, was Monsieur Vaudoyer, the architect; his assistant, 



Monsieur Legendre; and Mr. Dyson, the English farm super- 

Father Pierre Durif, the cur6 of Chavaniac, quietly entered 
the room. A plump and, ordinarily, a cheerful man, the 
priest was still out of breath from having played shuttlecock 
with the children. He whispered to Mademoiselle Marin to 
ask if the papers had come. She shook her head and whis- 
pered back that it was almost time for vespers; he mustn't 
keep the whole village waiting for Michel. After looking out 
of the window several times and several times comparing his 
watch with the clock on the mantelpiece, Father Durif tip- 
toed out again. 

Anastasie sighed. She had been playing shuttlecock also 
and was ashamed of herself. It was childish, she thought. It 
might seem as if she didn't care that her father had not been 
heard from and might have met with some terrible misfor- 
tune. She saw her mother get up from her chair and go into 
the next room. 

Adrienne had not been able to sit still a moment longer. 
She felt that she must be alone when and if the mail ar- 
rived. Only a few minutes later Flix Frestel came in and 
handed her a letter. She could see that it was not from Lafa- 
yette; it had been written by Louise de Noailles. Adrienne 
tore it open and had barely skimmed it through when Aunt 
Chavaniac appeared on the threshold. 

"Well is there any news of my nephew?" she asked im- 

"Yes, Aunt, the best of news!" Adrienne was radiant. "He's 
safe. He has left the country!" 

"He has left the country you tell me that, Madame!" The 
old woman's face was haggard, her eyes wide with horror 
and indignation. She sank down in a chair by the door and 
began to keen, tearing at her clothes and beating with her 
fist and knee against the wall. 


"I will never see him again," she cried. "He is gone! I 
will never see him again!" 

Mademoiselle Maillard rushed in, followed by others of 
the household- The servants were never very far away at 
Chavaniac. They expected, as a matter of course, to take part 
in every domestic crisis, comic or tragic. Mademoiselle Mail- 
lard loosened the kerchief that swathed the old lady's neck 
and tried to quiet her, but it was almost half an hour before 
Madame de Chavaniac was coaxed out of her chair and led 
away, still loudly sorrowing, to her bedroom. 

Adrienne could not offer first aid because she herself was 
surrounded. The moment she stepped back into the sitting 
room everyone in the chateau, including Monsieur Vau- 
doyer, Monsieur Legendre, and Mr. Dyson, crowded about 
her to kiss her hand and congratulate her as if the most 
wonderful good fortune had come her way. 

Actually Louise had written that Lafayette's attempts to 
bolster up resistance to the Jacobin coup had failed. His 
troops had refused to follow him to Paris and he, and a group 
of his officers and men, despairing of any further effort had 
ridden across the frontier into Belgium. 

But to Adrienne this was, for the time being, the best of 
news. He was safe! He had survived! She could not believe 
with Madame de Chavaniac, that she would never see him 
again. She was touched by the outpouring of good will her 
announcement had caused, all the more because Michel, 
there in the background, was loudly telling her and the oth- 
ers that he had heard at Brioude that many manor houses 
in the neighborhood had been attacked by revolutionists 
and they might expect something of the sort soon at Cha- 

As soon as she could, Adrienne sent George to comfort his 
aunt he, who meant so much to her. He went rather reluc- 
tantly and quickly returned to report that everything he 
said seemed to make her cry the harder. Down in the village, 


Father Durif was ringing the church bell a joyful sound, 
but for once Adrienne intended to be absent from vespers. 
She asked Monsieur Frestel to stay home from church with 
her to help sort the papers in her desk. She couldn't take 
lightly Michel's talk of an attack on the chateau. There were 
no Jacobins in Chavaniac; Adrienne knew that every man, 
woman and child in the village was her friend, but even 
before affairs had reached their present pass in Paris there 
had been much lawlessness in the district and now one could 
expect the worst. 

She and Frestel went over the contents of her desk and 
tossed many items into the fire. She decided to put valuables 
and even some of the pretty furniture from her room into an 
underground vault in the cellar where the family archives 
were stored. She decided also that the children must leave 
the house. 

But where could she send them? Four or five years ago 
Lafayette had bought a large estate and, as part of it, an old 
mansion twelve miles away at Langeac. The house was in 
poor repair and had never been properly furnished. The 
Lafayettes had lent it to an American woman, married to a 
Frenchman, and she and her two children were living there 
temporarily. Langeac might do as a refuge for Anastasie and 
Virginie, but a better hiding place for George and Frestel 
materialized even as Adrienne was at work at her desk. 

As if an angel had sent him, and before the family had 
come back from church, a fifteen-year-old boy named Portal 
arrived at the chateau after a long day's tramp from Con- 
angles, a little village high in the mountains, not far from 
the great monastery of the Chaise Dieu. Portal's father had 
entered the priesthood after his wife's death and, unlike Fa- 
ther Durif, had taken the oath of allegiance to the state. He 
offered to hide Lafayette's son in his house. 

Conangles was so remote that rioting there was unlikely. 
Adrienne gratefully accepted the offer. She herself saw to it 


that Portal was given something to eat and put to bed so 
that he could get a few hours sleep before he, George, and 
Frestel would start back that very night for the village. 

When the news was broken to George that he was to make 
a long hike into the mountains after nightfall he was de- 
lighted, but Anastasie and Virginie wailed when they were 
told that they were to go to Langeac. They begged to be 
allowed to stay with their mother. She, however, was inex- 
orable; they had to go and go at once, for already the sun 
was beginning to slip out of sight behind the western rim 
of mountains. Their clothes were packed, a small carriage 
was brought around to the door and, still glumly rebellious, 
the girls climbed in accompanied by Mademoiselle Marin 
and a maid. A manservant rode off behind the cabriolet, 
and one went on ahead to warn the American lady that she 
might have to give up her beds to visitors that night. 

There was still a great deal for Adrienne to do before she 
could get some rest herself. She superintended the removal 
of most of the furniture from her room to the hidden storage 
vault in the cellar. There were two of her husband's treas- 
ures that she wanted to preserve even if the vault was dis- 
covered: Lafayette's swords of honor, the one that had been 
given him by the National Guard and one with a gold hilt 
that was a gift from America. These she took out to bury in 
the garden. 

After the rest of the chateau had gone to bed, Adrienne 
helped George and Frestel to disguise themselves in rough 
country clothes and sent George to wake his benefactor, Por- 
tal. The three young folk set oflE shortly after midnight in 
high spirits. They had renamed themselves for the journey; 
they would be Jacques, Jeannot, and Pierre, if they were 
separated in the dark and had to call to one another. Portal 
had a wicked looking dagger with him that he intended us- 
ing if they were attacked by prowling watchdogs. 

When she had let them out into the night with her bless- 


ing Adrienne, worn out by the day's excitement and activ- 
ity, wearily climbed the stairs to her bedroom. 

She was so tired that she overslept and was awakened the 
following morning by the distant booming of a cannon. She 
remembered fortunately that this was nothing unusual, for 
the 2 7th of August was the fte day of Saint Julien, the 
patron saint of Brioude. She felt unrefreshed, however; she 
had a bad headache and foresaw that she would have little 
chance of pampering herself. 

The day was filled with alarms, false, or not so false it 
was hard to say which. Adrienne was hardly out of bed when 
an anonymous letter was found slipped under the front door 
saying that the chateau would certainly be attacked by a 
force that was gathering at Le Puy, a larger town than 
Brioude, the seat of departmental government, some thirty 
miles distant. A little later in the morning the innkeeper's 
wife at Chavaniac came to Adrienne to say that a mysterious 
stranger wanted to meet her about dusk at a lonely spot on 
the road to St. Georges d'Aurac. 

Though her head was still pounding, Adrienne kept the 
rendezvous, taking with her two men from the chateau as 
bodyguard. She found that the mysterious stranger was a 
gentleman she knew slightly at Le Puy who could tell her 
nothing definite of an uprising, but who urged her to come 
to his country house in yet another village for a few days. 

Adrienne declined the invitation, not wanting to leave 
Aunt Chavaniac and knowing how hard it would be to dis- 
lodge her. The old lady had fully recovered from the emo- 
tional outburst of Sunday and, as far as she herself was 
concerned, feared neither man, beast, nor devil. She could 
discuss quite calmly with Adrienne what they would do if 
the "brigands," as she called them, actually came. If they 
were men from Brioude, then one might stay to parley with 


them but i they were from Le Puy it would be better to 
take to the woods if, of course, there was time. 

For the next few days Michel, the best runner in Cha- 
vaniac, was stationed on a high point overlooking the road 
to Le Puy but each evening he reported that he had seen 
nothing on the road but the usual traffic, an occasional cart 
or a solitary rider. 

Toward the end of the week two commissioners came from 
Brioude, sent by the district Council to put government 
seals on the doors of the house as a protection against ma- 
rauders. Heartened by this, Adrienne thought that it would 
be a good idea to go herself to talk with the district author- 
ities. She was just about to set off when a letter was handed 
to her, the letter she had been waiting for so long. It had 
been written by Lafayette on August igth at Rochefort in 
Belgium, where he and his companions were being tempo- 
rarily detained by the first Austrian troops they had met 
after crossing the French frontier. They had declared them- 
selves neutrals in the present conflict and had asked for safe 
conduct to the coast. 

Over the years, Adrienne had received scores of letters 
from her far-ranging husband but never one like this. Gil- 
bert had written to her sometimes in sorrow, as when he 
learned in America that Henriette, their first child, had 
died but he had never had to write her of a personal dis- 
aster, a personal defeat. It was he who had always been the 
comforter; it was she who had been in need of reassurance. 

Lafayette was too close, perhaps, to the catastrophe which 
had driven him into exile to analyze it competently. In his 
heart, he said, he would have preferred a republic in France 
but cold logic had told him that this would be too great a 
break with tradition. He realized that in trying first to create 
the reformed government and then maintain it, he had be- 
come the target of attack by extremists in all parties. Thus 
he had worked steadily for his own downfall, though he did 


not see how he could have acted otherwise without dishonor. 

"I make no excuse," he concluded, "either to my children 
or to you for having ruined my family. There is none among 
you who would want to owe his fortune to conduct that went 
against my conscience. Come and join me in England. Let 
us settle in America. There we will find the freedom that no 
longer exists in France, and my affection will try to compen- 
sate you for all the joys that you have lost. Adieu, dear 

For a moment Adrienne was so lifted out of her present 
concerns and worries that she thought of giving up her trip 
to Brioude; instead she gave the letter to Madame de Cha- 
vaniac, who slipped it into the bosom of her dress and prom- 
ised to guard it with her very life. Adrienne drove off with 
a much more distant goal in view than the nearest large 
town. As soon as she could safeguard Chavaniac she would 
leave it perhaps forever. 

At Brioude she found a good deal to encourage her, though 
local elections for the National Convention that would re- 
place the short-lived Legislative Assembly were going on and 
there were noisy crowds in the street. Lafayette owned a 
house in Brioude, but Adrienne avoided it. 

She spent three days in lodgings that a young National 
Guardsman whom she met as she was driving into the town 
found for her. She was visited by leading citizens and told 
that she had nothing to fear at Brioude, though they could 
not guarantee that trouble might not come from some other 
direction. Various places of refuge were offered by various 
friends; some were fantastic an old house that had exten- 
sive subterranean passages, a hut on the top of the Mont 
Dore, the highest mountain in the district. On Sunday 
Adrienne went to Mass, taking care to choose that of a non- 
juring priest whom she felt needed her support. 

On her way back to Chavaniac she stopped to have dinner 
with the girls at Langeac. She had sent Monsieur Vaudoyer 


to call on them earlier in the week and one day had ridden 
over herself on horseback. Anastasie and Virginie still con- 
sidered themselves wretched, persecuted exiles. They had 
been taking turns standing sentinel all day long at a window 
that looked towards home. Adrienne told them that if all 
remained quiet for the next few days they could come to 
Chavaniac, at least for a visit. 

She sent for them on Saturday. Anastasie rode ahead of 
the carriage on the return trip. She went along slowly most 
of the way because Evrad, one of the men, was walking be- 
side her but when she came in sight of the chateau and saw 
her mother and her aunt sitting out on a balcony she gave 
her horse its head and galloped grandly up the hill. As she 
swept into the courtyard she was followed by a flock of 
women and children from the village who had come to wel- 
come her home. 

Anastasie was more thrilled than frightened when Adri- 
enne told her in confidence that they must still be on the 
watch and described the arrangements she had made for a 
quick escape from the house. She had had a crude sedan 
chair brought down from the attic and two of the strongest 
men would carry Aunt Chavaniac in it to a ravine in the 
woods. Another man would carry Virginie, who was so small 
that she might not be able to keep up with the others as they 

"But what will we do about Mademoiselle Marin?" Anas- 
tasie asked. "She would be sure to follow Virginie and she 
walks so slowly. If she was left behind no one would take 
her for a peasant because of those high-heeled shoes she 

"Well, in that case, we will just have to count on the vil- 
lage people taking care of her," Adrienne said with a sigh. 

That evening when they were having supper, Mercier, the 
Chavaniac butler, kept muttering to himself as he stood be- 
hind Adrienne's chair and passed the dishes about the table. 


"Things don't look good to me," he said, loud enough so 
that all could hear him. "Going to kill everyone rob every- 
thingand they're not far off. You ought to get out of here, 
every one of you, right away." 

Mercier was one of the men who had gone with Adrienne 
to meet the mysterious stranger that evening on the road to 
St. Georges d'Aurac, and he was disgusted with her for not 
having accepted the gentleman's offer of an asylum. 


Soldiers From Hell 

*T-IWO DAYS LATER on Monday, September loth, 1792, at 
JL eight o'clock in the morning, eighty-six armed men 
tramped up the hill from the village. Mademoiselle Benoite, 
the elderly housekeeper, who always wore a spindle attached 
to her belt to keep her hands busy in idle moments, looked 
out of the window and saw them just as she was carrying a 
jug of coffee up to Madame de Chavaniac's bedroom. The 
soldiers had encountered Monsieur Legendre, the architect's 
assistant, as he was crossing the courtyard. They had backed 
the young man up against a tree and told him not to move 
if he valued his life. 

Mademoiselle Benoite burst into Madame de Chavaniac's 
room. "Get up, Madame, get up right away!" 

"What on earth is the matter with you, Benoite?" the old 
lady asked, sitting up and pushing back the bed curtains. 

"Oh, Jesus-Mary! Look out the window quick! They've 
filled up the whole courtyard!" 

"But who are they?" Madame de Chavaniac asked, not to 
be hustled out of her bed unnecessarily. 



"Who? Who? You make me tired, Madame, with your 
whos! Soldiers, every kind o soldier, every color and all 
armed to the teeth!" 

"Where do they come from?" Madame de Chavaniac 
asked, still not to be stampeded into hysteria. 

"From hell; God forgive me!" Mademoiselle Benoite 
cried, piously crossing herself. 

At the same moment Evrad, the man whom Adrienne had 
deputed to carry Virginie if they had to escape from the 
chateau, shot into the room where Virginie was being dressed 
by Mademoiselle Marin. "At least we can save the childl" 
he shouted. 

He swung Virginie up on his shoulder and started for the 

"Wait till she gets her clothes on. She'll catch her death of 
cold," Mademoiselle Marin protested. 

But Evrad paid no attention to her except to grumble at 
her for wasting time. He quickly opened the door and as 
quickly banged it shut. The next room, it was the dining 
room, was full of soldiers. 

The butler, Mercier, had gone straight to Adrienne's sit- 
ting room. She was there and in the doorway was a huge 
musketeer, his gun across his shoulder. He had just informed 
Mademoiselle Maillard that if anyone tried to leave the 
house there would be a general massacre but to Adrienne he 
said with a grin, "Don't be frightened. We're just some peo- 
ple who have come from Le Puy, and we have a commissioner 
with us." 

The commissioner was an unprepossessing individual who 
had a split upper lip, like a hare, and looked as if he might 
be an escaped convict. He introduced himself to Adrienne 
as Alphonse Aulagnier, Justice of the Peace at Le Puy. He 
handed her a letter from the Committee of General Safety 
in Paris, dated August igth, and signed by Jean Marie Ro- 
land, the Minister of the Interior. It ordered him to secure 


the persons of Madame de Lafayette and her children and 
to transport them to Paris. 

While Adrienne was reading this document she was ap- 
palled to see Anastasie enter the room and to hear her say, 
"Bonjour, maman." Now she could not pretend that all of 
her children were away from home! Madame de Chavaniac 
also came in. 

The best thing to do, Adrienne thought, was to get Aulag- 
nier and his men out of the house as quickly as possible be 
fore any pilfering, or worse, began. Resistance was out of the 
question. "I will go with you at once to Le Puy," she said, 
"and will give myself up to the authorities there. I will go 
as soon as the horses can be harnessed." 

She told Mercier to see that the carriage was brought 
around immediately. 

Aulagnier asked for the keys to Adrienne's desk. He must 
see if she had any letters from her husband. Unfortunately, 
the letter that Adrienne had received before going to Brioude 
was no longer wedged between Madame de Chavaniac's ker- 
chief and her stays. It was in the desk and with it was an- 
other letter that Lafayette had written a few days later to 
his aunt in which he said that he supposed Adrienne had 
already left Chavaniac for England. 

While Aulagnier was ferreting through the desk, Adrienne 
slipped off to Virginie's room where Virginie, in tears, was 
being forcibly restrained by Mademoiselle Maillard and 
Mademoiselle Marin. Virginie had wanted to follow Anas- 
tasie to her mother's room. Adrienne tried hurriedly to com- 
fort the child and told her that she must stay where she was. 
On no account must she be seen by Aulagnier or the sol- 
diers. If they should come here, Mademoiselle Marin could 
hide her inside the fireplace. This seemed more feasible than 
Madame de Chavaniac's suggestion that Virginie should be 
dressed as a peasant and turned out to run with the village 


When she returned to the sitting room, Adrienne found 
the commissioner reading Lafayette's letters. "You will see 
by them, monsieur," she said, "that if there had been any 
just tribunals in France, Monsieur de Lafayette would not 
have hesitated to appear before them. He was sure that not 
a single action of his life could compromise him in the eyes 
of true patriots." 

"I am afraid, Madame," Aulagnier replied, not too un- 
kindly, "that the only court today is the court of public 

The wait for the carriage began to seem long. Adrienne, 
to pass the time, spoke to one of the soldiers, whom she 
thought had a pleasant face and who was wearing a white 
uniform that she did not recognize. She asked him what was 
his regiment. 

"I am from Medoc," the soldier said. "They sent us to Le 
Puy because we had a little trouble in our regiment. We 
killed one of our officers, but," the man shrugged, "what 
could you expect? The fellow was an aristocratl" 

Adrienne became increasingly uneasy as she saw that the 
men were beginning to wander away to other parts of the 
house, staring curiously at everything they discovered. They 
particularly admired the work that had been begun on "the 
Washington Gallery" where Lafayette had intended to hang 
his pictures of the Revolution. 

"Think of owning all this," one of the sightseers said, "and 
then going off and betraying his country!" 

Mademoiselle Benoite hobbled after them as they stopped 
to inspect the portraits of bygone Lafayettes in armor, ruffs, 
and farthingales. "Who are these people?" a soldier asked. 
"Some fine aristocrats, I suppose!" 

"They were good people in their day," Mademoiselle 
Benoite said in a sepulchral voice, "and now they are no 
more. If they were alive today things might not be going as 
badly as they are!" 


The soldiers ran the points of their bayonets through the 
canvases and later, when they invaded Madame de Cha- 
vaniac's room, they stabbed a picture of Lafayette to the 
heart. They also broke open the desk and smashed a jar in 
which the old lady kept her snufL 

But at last the carriage appeared. Madame de Chavaniac 
had nobly said that she would go with Adrienne to Le Puy 
and farther still to Paris, if necessary. Anastasie would have 
to go also, since she had been recognized by Aulagnier. Adri- 
enne was touched when Mercier, Evrad, and another servant 
volunteered to follow the coach on foot among the soldiers, 
keeping their ears open to hear if any mischief was intended 
before Le Puy was reached. Adrienne was much relieved 
that the commissioner had made no enquiries for other Lafa- 
yette children than Anastasie and that Virginie had not been 

Just as she was getting into the carriage, the man whom 
she had sent several times to Conangles to communicate with 
George innocently asked, "Shall I keep on going to see Mon- 
sieur Georges while you are away?" 

"Of course," Adrienne whispered, "-only keep stilll" 

As if this was not enough, Monsieur Vaudoyer approached 
to say goodbye and added in surprise, "Then Mademoiselle 
Virginie is staying here?" 

"Oh please, monsieur!" Adrienne murmured, sinking back 
on the cushions. 

It was a good thirty miles to Le Puy and since the 
morning was well advanced it was clear that they could not 
get there by night with their military escort, all of whom, 
except Aulagnier, were unmounted. Adrienne was cheerful. 
This was infinitely better, she said, than two weeks ago when 
she had not even received her sister's letter saying that Lafa- 
yette was safe. She thought that she might plead her cause 


successfully and perhaps make her captors feel a little fool- 
ish for what they had done. Madame de Chavaniac was un- 
concerned, although she said that it was certainly strange to 
be knocked out of her accustomed groove for an expedition 
of this kind. As they slowly jolted along, Anastasie felt sorry 
for poor little Virginie, who had been left behind and who 
was probably suffering pangs of jealousy. 

At a small town, Villeneuve, they stopped so that the sol- 
diers could eat and drink and Adrienne told Evrad to go 
back to the chateau to reassure them there. Aulagnier said 
that they would spend the night at Fix, which stood at a high 
point on the mountainous road to Le Puy. 

It seemed as if the horses couldn't drag the carriage up the 
steep incline, burdened as it was with half a dozen soldiers 
hanging on behind it, but at last, after a struggle, the summit 
was reached. The women were helped out of the coach and 
went into the inn. Aulagnier settled with them the hour 
when they would leave at two in the morning, as soon as 
the moon had risen. 

Mercier came up to their room and said that the soldiers 
were not such bad fellows after all and he didn't think that 
there was anything to fear from them. Aulagnier, too, had 
been very friendly and had invited him to dinner. 

Adrienne thanked Mercier, with tears in her eyes, for his 
devotion. He, too, was moved. "Oh, it's nothing," he said 
gruffly. "That was easy to do." He would sleep, he said, on 
a mattress in front of the door to guard them during the 

After they had had something to eat, all but Aunt Cha- 
vaniac, who refused to take anything but some sugar water, 
they knelt down to say their prayers. A great scuffling broke 
out below angry voices, a cry, "To arms!" 

Adrienne thought that someone might have come to res- 
cue them, that there would be a fight to the death. "Oh, 


Aunt, I am afraid someone will be killed," she exclaimed 
in horror. 

But Aunt Chavaniac had no such illusions or compunc- 
tions. It was just a soldiers' brawl. "Eh, Madame," she said 
contemptuously, "if they want to kill one another, let theml" 

Presently the fracas subsided and sleep was possible. Anas- 
tasie dropped into complete oblivion, Madame de Chavaniac 
slept the uneasy sleep of old age, and Adrienne lay awake, 
wondering whether the soldiers would have time to get dan- 
gerously drunk before two o'clock in the morning. 

At two, the travelers were aroused and given some milk 
to drink by the innkeeper's wife, who was sympathetic, but 
who prophesied that soon they all would be on their way to 
Paris. The journey to Le Puy was then continued by moon- 


The Court of Public Opinion 

VERY ANCIENT, the very curious town of Le Puy en 
- Velay rises in the form of an amphitheater from the floor 
of a high mountain valley, its steep and narrow streets paved 
with pebbles of lava. Twin pinnacles of volcanic rock are 
today crowned with gigantic statues and on a third is perched 
a miniature doll's house of a church. The church of St. Jean 
d'Aiguilhe had been in position, airily suspended, for more 
than eight hundred years when the Lafayette carriage ap- 
proached the town on the morning of September i ith, 1792. 
The sun had been up for hours. 

The travelers fell silent as they neared the suburb that 
had grown up outside the old city wall. At Fix they had 
been told that a prisoner who was being brought into Le 
Puy was set upon by a mob at this point and killed. One 
could not be sure how much protection to expect from Mon- 
sieur Aulagnier and his cohorts. 

Adrienne saw that for the first time Anastasie was showing 
signs of nervousness. She whispered in her daughter's ear, 
"If your father knew that you were here, how anxious he 



would be but at the same time he would be very proud of 

People stared at the carriage as it passed and shouted 
wordless threats; stones rattled against its sides. A few flew 
in at the window before it had reached the gate of the town. 

Aulagnier had asked Adrienne where she wanted to go in 
Le Puy, and she had replied that she wanted to be taken 
straight to the building that housed the government of the 
department. The Department Council was not in session 
when she arrived, but the members were sent for and soon 
began to file in. Among them was the mayor of the town 
who was an old acquaintance. Adrienne remembered his 
having come to Chavaniac occasionally in the past. 

She had had plenty of time in the long hours on the road 
to plan exactly what she should say when she found herself 
in this particular room and facing this particular audience. 
"I place myself confidently under your protection, gentle- 
men," she said. "I recognize in you the authority of the peo- 
pleand that I have always respected. You may take your 
orders from Monsieur Roland if you choose or from anyone 
else. I choose to take orders only from you and I give myself 
up to you as your prisoner." 

The municipal officers were surprised, perhaps, that a 
woman could be so reasonable and so businesslike. Aulagnier 
produced the letters he had found in Adrienne's desk at 
Chavaniac. The question was raised: what should be done 
with these incriminating documents? The board decided that 
they should be sent to Paris. 

Adrienne asked that copies of the letters should be made 
before they were dispatched and asked permission to read 
some of them aloud. 

Again there was a flutter of surprise. One of the men said 
ironically that he was afraid she might find it painful to read 
her husband's letters in public and to the present company. 


"On the contrary," Adrienne said. "I find support and 
comfort in the feelings they express." 

She knew that she was taking a risk to let her husband 
speak for himself she might be interrupted; she might be 
howled down but in a firm voice she read the passages that 
set forth most clearly Lafayette's patriotism and his political 
outlook, in particular the passage in which he stated his 
preference for a republican form of government, now that 
France no longer had a king. 

While she read, there was absolute silence. Adrienne 
sensed, as an actor or a public speaker senses instinctively, 
that her audience was with her. She had touched the imag- 
ination and emotions of these coldly hostile men. Their hos- 
tility was impersonal. They were not really cold; they, too, 
loved their country. Other people drifted into the hall to 
listen. When she had finished there was applause, and the 
Mayor of Le Puy fervently congratulated her. 

It had occurred to Adrienne that the Mayor had gone too 
far and might damage his position with his more radical col- 
leagues by appearing to be so intimate with her. She would 
do him as good a turn as she could under the circumstances. 
She thanked him for his sympathy, "But why have you not 
been to see me, Monsieur le Maire?" she asked reproach- 
fully. "You have not come to Chavaniac for a very, very long 

The President of the Council, Monsieur de Montfleury, 
though less demonstrative, seemed also to be her friend. 
Adrienne urged him and his fellows to consider obeying this 
order of the Committee of General Safety in spirit but not 
to the letter. It would be unjust and pointless to force her 
and her children to make a long journey in these dangerous 
times and to go to Paris where only a week ago, as she had 
learned from the newspapers, there had been a wholesale 
murder of prisoners in their cells. No definite accusation had 
been brought against her. Her only possible value was as a 


hostage for her husband, for whom she was proud to go 
security and whose opinions she gloried in sharing but why 
could she not be a hostage here in Auvergne? 

"I would be much obliged to the department," Adrienne 
said, "if it will allow me to remain under house arrest at 
Chavaniac. If so, I will give you my word of honor not to 
leave my home without your permission." 

It was getting late. President de Montfleury said that the 
matter would be discussed and decided at the next meeting 
of the Council. In the meantime, the three Lafayette women 
could stay here in the municipal building where they would 
be safe. 

The following day de Montfleury pleaded Adrienne's cause 
so well that a letter outlining her proposal was written im- 
mediately to Minister Roland by Alphonse Aulagnier. Adri- 
enne was told that she would have to remain in Le Puy, 
however, until a reply came back from Paris. 

She, Anastasie, and Aunt Chavaniac resigned them- 
selves to living as comfortably as they could contrive in the 
municipal building. They were prisoners, but the sentinels 
at their door were National Guardsmen who had asked for 
the assignment so that they might protect Lafayette's wife 
and family. Adrienne could have visitors and many people 
she knew in Le Puy came to offer their sympathy. She could 
also hear from home, from Virginie and George, and could 
write letters, one of which went to her mother in Paris. 

She went over in her mind the people she knew who might 
have some influence with Roland. The list was meager, but 
she decided to write to Jacques Pierre Brissot, who had often 
come to the house in the Rue de Bourbon and had often 
been a guest at her table. At that time Brissot was head of 
the French Antislavery Society in which both Lafayette and 


Adrienne were active. He was now one of the Girondist lead- 
ers in the National Convention. 

"Monsieur," she wrote, "I really believe that you are a 
sincere fanatic for liberty. This is a compliment I can pay to 
very few people nowadays. I won't go into the question 
whether your kind of fanaticism like religious fanaticism- 
defeats its own end, but I cannot think that one who has 
done so much for the emancipation of Negroes could be an 
agent of tyranny." 

She described the circumstances of her arrest without a 
warrant. She compared it to the methods that the kings of 
France had once used to send prisoners to the Bastille with- 
out trial. She asked Brissot to do what he could to free her 
so that she could go to England, join Lafayette, and emigrate 
with him to America. 

The letter was sent off at the same time as the communica- 
tion of the Council to Roland. A week, two weeks, went by. 
Toward the end of September, Adrienne was called again 
into the assembly room to listen to the word that had come 
from Paris. 

The arrangement she had suggested was satisfactory, she 
was informed, if the local authorities would be responsible 
for her safekeeping. She had won her point, but not without 
a sharp little slap on the wrist from Roland. Brissot had 
shown him her letter and the minister had taken offense at 
some of the expressions she had used; the style of writing she 
had learned from her mother was too aristocratic. She had 
said, for instance, "I consent to owe you a service;" that 
smacked too much he thought, of "the antiquated pride of 
what had once been called nobility." There was frenzied 
applause in the Council chamber when this part of Roland's 
letter was read aloud. 

Adrienne could have passed over the rebuke with a smile, 
if she had been in a smiling mood, but she was depressed to 
realize that victory had come too late. She had had some very 


disheartening news while she was at Le Puy. Lafayette was 
not in England, as she hoped he would be by this time. His 
declaration of neutrality had not been worth the paper on 
which it was written. It was reported in the newspapers that 
he was a prisoner of the anti-French coalition, made up of 
Austria, Prussia, and the German principalities, which con- 
sidered him a dangerous revolutionary. He was on his way 
to a Prussian fortress Spandau, the papers said. 

Again the impulse to go to him was overwhelming. How- 
ever difficult it might be to travel, or to leave France, Adri- 
enne bitterly regretted that she had promised to stay at 

Perhaps, she thought, her promise might be rescinded as 
she listened to the Council debate how she should be 
guarded. It was proposed that the Commune of Aurat in 
which Chavaniac was situated, should supply sentinels for 
the chateau. "I here declare, gentlemen," Adrienne cried, 
"that I will not give the parole I offered if guards are to be 
placed at my door." 

But the Commune of Aurat had no intention of posting 
guards. Its representative said to the Council that if Adrienne 
had given her word of honor that should be sufficient. "I 
would go bail for her myself," the man from Aurat said, 
"for she's a fine woman." 

It was agreed that the Commune should merely check on 
Adrienne's presence at Chavaniac every two weeks and re- 
port to Le Puy. 

Shortly thereafter, on October 5th, the three prisoners left 
for home. They were accompanied to their doorstep by a 
squad of commissioners, who were impressed by the welcome 
given Adrienne, Anastasie, and Madame de Chavaniac. Not 
only the household and the village turned out, but some of 
the officials from Aurat were there also. Adrienne could not 
resist saying in the presence of her guards from Le Puy that 


she was not as aristocratic as Monsieur Roland thought. She 
felt honored to owe a service to her country neighbors and 
to find herself under the protection of people who trusted 

After the officers from Le Puy had left she invited the 
Aurat delegation to stay to supper. Before the meal was over 
she proposed her husband's health, and the toast was drunk 
without protest. 

But the toast was only a flourish. Back in her own 
house, Adrienne's one absorbing aim was to leave it as soon 
as possible. The day before coming home from Le Puy she 
battened down her pride and wrote to Roland, begging him 
to release her "I ask it on my knees," she said so that she 
could go to Germany. Prisoners of state were sometimes given 
the privilege of having their wives with them. If she could 
not actually live with her husband, at least she could be 
near him. 

She wrote in similar vein to Brissot. His only reply to her 
first appeal had been through Roland, but at least he was 
responsible for her being now at Chavaniac. "I should not 
write to you again, monsieur," she began for she felt that 
he had betrayed her confidence "after the use that you make 
of my letters. ... Do not expect to find bitterness in what 
I have to say, nor even the pride of injured innocence. I 
plead my cause with the sole desire of gaining it." 

These two letters she sent to Paris by a special messenger, 
an old friend whom she found waiting for her at Chavaniac. 
His name was Beauchet; he was the husband of one of her 
former maids and he had been sent to Auvergne by the 
Duchesse d'Ayen as soon as she heard of her daughter's ar- 

Adrienne could not wait to be free herself, however, be- 


fore beginning to work for her husband's freedom. She 
thought at once of America. Mr. Dyson, the farm superin- 
tendent, wanted to go home to England while the going was 
good; one could not tell what international complications 
might arise in the near future. This seemed to Adrienne a 
good way of communicating quickly and safely with Lafa- 
yette's "adopted father," President Washington. 

She wrote to him, asking that an American envoy be sent 
to Europe to negotiate her husband's release. If his family 
could go with him to the United States, so much the better; 
but if that was impossible, their being left behind must not 
be considered an obstacle. She did not mention Lafayette's 
name, and she omitted her signature, thinking that Dyson's 
papers might be examined before he was allowed to leave 
the country. Dyson promised to explain everything himself 
to the President. 

Six months, however, and even more might go by before 
an answer came from Philadelphia. There were other Amer- 
ican friends who were close at hand and the most obvious 
one to approach was the present Minister to France, Mr. 
Gouvemeur Morris. 

Adrienne knew this successor to Thomas Jefferson well, 
for he had often been present at the Monday night American 
dinners at the house in the Rue de Bourbon. Once, to please 
him, Adrienne had had Anastasie sing a little ditty that Mor- 
ris himself had composed. Morris was not altogether to her 
taste, nor to her husband's. He was a snob, had identified 
himself with the court party, and took a rather dim and 
carping view of Lafayette's zeal for reform. Adrienne felt 
sure, however, that Morris would and should be concerned 
by her present plight. 

There were others outside of France to whom she could 
turn, in particular Thomas Pinckney, the American minister 
to England, a country that thus far had maintained a hands- 

Madame de Simiane 

From a painting by Madame Vigte-Lebrun 

The Marquis de Lafayette 

Lafayette and Marie Antoinette on the balcony at 
Versailles: October 5th, 1789 

The Lafayette-d'Ayen wed- 
ding invitation 

Monfieui le Comte DE LA R1V1FRE, & 
Monfirur If Comte DE LUZIONEM , font 
vtnu^pour avoir I'honneur de vous fairepart 
t!u ni.iriaf^e tic Afonficur Ic Marquis JDE LA" 
1-A1 r.TT> Icur arrierc-pedt-Filv & Ncveu, 
avec Madeinoifcllc 1>E NOAiLLES. 

From the Sibliotheqite Rationale 

Gilbert and Adrienne de 
Lafayette at the time of 
their marriage 

The three children of Adri- 
enne de Lafayette: Anas- 
tasie, George Washington, 
and Virginia 

The chateau of Chavaniac 

From a drawing by General Cctrbonei 

A nineteenth century view of the town of Olmutz 

Sketch of "Cataquois," the 
Olmutx jailer, by Anastasie 
de Lafayette 

Madame de Lafayette in 
her later years 

The chateau of La Grange- 

The storming of the Bastille 

From a govaehe by EouSl 

Lafayette, as Commander of 
the National Guard, rescuing 
a victim from the Paris mob 







fi ."" 

H a 


off, wait-and-see policy in the present war. She would write 
to Morris, she could try to write to Pinckney; but how much 
better it would be, she thought, if she could speak to them 
herself or if she could send someone to represent herl 

One night, soon after her return from Le Puy, Adrienne 
was roused from her bed to speak with Fflix Frestel, who 
had stolen back from his hide-out in the mountains. He and 
George had been living all these weeks safely, but monot- 
onously, at Conangles; their presence in the village unsus- 
pected. Portal's grandmother kept house for her priestly son 
and his family. She had seen that the refugees were well-fed. 
Portal and his brother waited on the family at mealtimes 
and were ready to slip into the guests' places at the table if 
anyone came to the house and George and Frestel had to 
hide themselves hurriedly in the attic. 

One could not live forever in an attic, however. Frestel 
wanted to know what was Adrienne's pleasure and was ready 
to cany out any program she suggested for George. 

It would be best for George, Adrienne thought, if he were 
out of the country. If he came to Chavaniac he would be only 
another hostage and, young though he was, he might be use- 
ful elsewhere. 

While the rest of the chateau slept, Adrienne and Frestel 
spelled out in whispers a plan for Frestel to go to the autumn 
trade fair at Bordeaux. He could easily get a license as a 
small time merchant and also the passport now needed to go 
from one department to another. He would take George with 
him. They would try to find a passage aboard a ship that 
was going to England. There they would confer with Thomas 
Pinckney on efforts to rescue Lafayette. They might even 
travel farther still to Germany. 

Before daylight the plan was complete and Frestel was 
gone as quietly as he had come. Adrienne had told him that 
she didn't want to see George before they left, for at the last 


moment she might not be able to part with her son. She was 
ready to make any sacrifice herself, however, and to demand 
any sacrifice from her children that would serve their father. 
She had always been honest enough to admit to them and 
to herself that she was wife first, she was mother second. 


October, 1792 June, 1794 


A Net of Many Strands 

EVEN BEFORE ADRiENNE was taken to Le Puy on September 
loth, 1792, Lafayette's American friends in Europe had 
been alerted by Lafayette himself. 

A young man named William Short, who was the United 
States minister at the Hague, received a note that had been 
hurriedly written in English by the prisoner at Brussels on 
August 26th. It began, "My dear friend: You have been ac- 
quainted with the atrocious events which have taken place 
in Paris." Short had indeed heard of the atrocious events 
and was much perturbed. He had come to France in 1784 as 
Thomas Jefferson's secretary, had made many French friends 
and had fallen head over heels in love with an aristocratic 
lady, the Duchesse de la Rochefoucauld. Short was longing 
to hear from her and the letter in hand only added to his 

Lafayette, after telling of his arrest by the Austrians and 
their disregard of his declared neutrality, asked the minister 
to come to Brussels at once and claim him as a compatriot. 
"I am an American citizen, an American officer, no longer 
in French service, and I don't doubt of your immediate and 
urging [sic] arrival." 



It was true that Lafayette was, technically speaking, an 
American citizen. In 1784, he and his male posterity had 
been granted an honorary citizenship by two states of the 
present union. It was also true that his services to the Amer- 
ican nation had been immeasurable, freely given without 
thought of reward not to mention the countless services to 
individual Americans, one of whom happened to be Short 
himself. After Jefferson went home in 1789, Short had very 
much wanted the post in Paris. Lafayette had written to 
Washington warmly recommending him and, though Morris 
had been appointed in his stead, Short was grateful to the 
Marquis for what he had done. 

There was every reason therefore for Short's coming to 
Lafayette's aid but go to Brussels! demand a prisoner of the 
mighty Austrian Empire! Short could not see himself, a rep- 
resentative of a small, weak country far across the globe, 
doing that. Lafayette also had been branded as a traitor by 
the present French government. There was a treaty of al- 
liance between France and America. Looking in either di- 
rection, Short could see only an impasse. And he was very 
far from home. This was too great a responsibility for him to 
take single-handed. 

Short did not reply to the Brussels letter immediately. A 
second, more urgent appeal arrived three days later "depend 
on it, no time is to be lost." At last the harassed young man 
wrote to apologize lamely for not coming to Belgium. He 
was too busy, he said; he would come later on his way to 
Spain on a diplomatic mission. He hoped that all would be 
well by that time, for he didn't believe that Lafayette would 
be held for very long. 

But even as he wrote, Short saw how shabby his excuses 
were. He salved his bruised and aching conscience by taking 
counsel with his American colleagues, with Morris in Paris 
and Thomas Pinckney in London. William Cannichael in 


Madrid, the only other American representative in Europe, 
was too far away to be readily consulted. 

In early September, a worried, three-cornered correpond- 
ence began. Both Morris and Pinckney agreed that Short had 
done the right thing in doing nothing. Morris thought that 
''the less we meddle in the great quarrel which agitates Eu- 
rope the better it will be for us." Pinckney saw no use in 
making a request only to have it refused; he had, however, 
drafted an official note to the Austrian ministry and was 
ready to sign it if the others would cooperate. 

So the matter rested when Gouverneur Morris heard from 
Adrienne. Her letter was delivered to him by Monsieur 
Beauchet, the man whom the Duchesse d'Ayen had sent to 
Chavaniac and who earlier had carried Adrienne's appeals 
to Roland and Brissot. This was only one of many trips that 
Beauchet made back and forth between Paris and Auvergne. 
He was invaluable as a means of communication now that 
the public mails were so hazardous and he could give the 
personal touch that Adrienne felt was so important. 

On his first trip Beauchet had seen both Roland and Bris- 
sot and had found that, though Roland might be irritated 
by aristocratic expressions, he was a kindhearted man. Via 
Beauchet, Roland sent back word to Adrienne that he was 
deeply sorry for her. He would wait for a favorable moment 
to present her case to the Committee of General Safety and 
hoped that before long, he might have good news for her. 

In the meantime she would have to wait, as she had so 
often waited before, for a letter from America and for 
further developments. 

Again winter closed in. Adrienne could remember sadly 
that at this time last year Gilbert was at home, peacefully 
conferring with Mr. Dyson about his cattle and hogs and 
with Monsieur Vaudoyer about the improvements to his 
house. Except for one brief notice in the Paris papers that 


Lafayette had been taken not to Spandau but to Wesel in 
Westphalia, his name had disappeared from the public press. 
Adrienne wondered if perhaps she might not possibly get 
news of him through diplomatic channels and wrote to the 
Duke of Brunswick, the commander of the allied armies. She 
sent her letter to the French Minister for War. Again 
Beauchet was her messenger. 

When he returned about the middle of December, Adri- 
enne learned that Roland had been successful with the Paris 
committee and that she was free of her parole, free to go 
and come as she chose within the narrow circle of her own 
department of the Haute Loire. She would need a special 
dispensation to go beyond it and Roland warned her to give 
up all idea of trying to join her husband; it would be very 
unsafe for the wife of Lafayette to travel even in France at 
present, and in the Rhineland there were battle lines to cross. 

The first use that Adrienne made of her limited liberty 
was to go to Le Puy on business, for she was plagued by a 
new disability that threatened to chain her to Chavaniac as 
closely as had her word of honor. For the first time in her 
life she was very short of money. 

In the past, money had always been there for the asking. 
When cash in hand ran low, one wrote to Monsieur Morizot, 
the man of affairs who had always been and still was in 
charge of Lafayette's estate. If one was in a hurry one could 
always borrow. Lafayette had been carelessly extravagant 
and had reduced his patrimony by a half, but his credit was 
until recently excellent. Like many husbands, he left to 
Adrienne the dreary routine of paying bills, and now bills 
were coming in and there was very little with which to pay 
them. Lafayette had been classed as an emigrant noble and 
his property had been confiscated by the state. This applied 
not only to his lands in Auvergne but to the much more 
valuable holdings he had inherited from his mother's side 
of the family in Brittany. 


What particularly worried Adrienne was that Madame 
de Chavaniac's affairs were hopelessly entangled with her 
nephew's. As a result of a sale of some of his aunt's real estate 
that had turned out badly and for which Lafayette felt he 
was to blame, he had given her a promissory note to cover 
the loss. He had thought that the interest on the note would 
provide her with a safe and steady income as long as she lived. 

Adrienne frequently made the long, cold journey to Le 
Puy that winter to protest before the department Council 
Lafayette's classification as an &nigr and to consult a lawyer 
who was trying to validate her claim that debts made earlier 
on sequestered property should be honored. It was particu- 
larly difficult to do anything about the estates in Brittany- 
there was no one in Paris whom she wanted to ask to repre- 
sent her but she could not even try to go to Germany, she 
felt, until Aunt Chavaniac's future was secure and some 
other long-standing obligations had been disposed of. 

For she still intended, in spite of Roland's warnings, in 
spite of war and passports and frontiers, to make the attempt. 
It was part of her plan that George should leave the country 
before she did. All during the fall and early winter she 
hoped to hear that George and Frestel had got their passage 
to England from Bordeaux. 

She had wished that Madame de Chavaniac should know 
nothing of this scheme, remembering how last August the 
old lady had moaned and beat her fist against the wall be- 
cause she thought that she would never see George's father 
again. Somehow the secret had leaked out; it was hard to 
keep a secret in the small, talkative world of Chavaniac. With 
great, and uncharacteristic, self control Madame de Cha- 
vaniac said nothing to Adrienne directly, but her manner 
to her niece was cold and mournful and the subject of 
George's whereabouts lay, undiscussed, like a sword between 

Frestel was able to write to Adrienne from time to time, 


but only in veiled language that was difficult to interpret. 
Once she thought that they were actually off, but later Frestel 
let her know that it was useless to try to get out of a port 
that was so well guarded; ships by the score were lying idle 
at Bordeaux. He was going with George to his parents' home 
in Normandy to see if there was any chance of slipping across 
the Channel from that point. 

Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, they turned up at 
Chavaniac. Adrienne saw them come home with mixed feel- 
ings of relief and disappointment. She could not join at once 
in her aunt's and the girls' festival of joy. 

Frestel told her in private that he was willing to try again 
if she could give him the means, for all the little supply of 
money she had handed over to him in October was ex- 
hausted. For several days she weighed the heavy risks against 
the featherweight chances of success. She finally decided that 
it would be hopeless; George could stay where he was, since 
there was nowhere else that she could send him except back 
to the garret of Father Portal's house at Conangles. On 
Christmas Eve, 1792, George celebrated his thirteenth birth- 
day in the home of his ancestors. 

The old year drew gloomily to its end. On December 
27th, William Short was writing to Morris that Lafayette 
and three others who were taken with him in Belgium, all 
of whom had been members of the French Constituent As- 
sembly and therefore guilty of tese-majeste in royal eyes, 
were being treated very harshly in WeseL Some said that 
Lafayette was dead, others that he had gone insane. Short 
did not believe these rumors, but he was afraid that Lafa- 
yette was the one "individual in all France whom both the 
Prussians and the Austrian* hate most cordially." 

Late in the year though it was for military action, all along 
the eastern battle front the armies of the French Republic 


were delivering hammer blows. The &nigr6 regiments that 
last summer were so proud and menacing were broken and 
decimated. No quarter had been given them on the field; no 
prisoners had been taken. All of Belgium was in French 
hands and refugees were streaming into Holland, the only 
avenue o escape. 

Among those who fled were Pauline de Montagu, Pauline's 
soldier-husband, Joachim, and her father-in-law, the Vicomte 
de Beaune. They were among the lucky few who had been 
able to commandeer a carriage at Aix-la-Chapelle. They were 
speeding in it down the road on the left bank of the Rhine 
that led into the Low Countries. Their destination was again 
England, for it seemed likely that Holland also would fall 
to the French. When they came to the point where the Lippe 
flows into the Rhine they saw on the opposite bank the 
town of Wesel and its high-walled fortress. 

Pauline leaned out of the window of the carriage, tears 
streaming from her eyes. She knew that this was Lafayette's 
prison. All of the migr& had heard with glee of his down- 
fall. Pauline, if she had dared, would have liked to ask to 
stop so that she could search the windows of the fortress and 
perhaps see her brother-in-law's face pressed against the bars. 

Her father-in-law, no doubt, knew what was in her mind 
but for once the old Vicomte, who hated Lafayette as cor- 
dially as any Austrian or Prussian could, was tactful. He 
refrained from asking Pauline why she was crying. He didn't 
even register a protest against the open window and the cold 
air that was rushing into the carriage. 

In far away Chavaniac, Adrienne, too, was thinking con- 
stantly of Wesel and its fortress and of the way thither. Over 
her and hers lay coiled a net of many strands. Slowly but 
surely the net would contract and she would find no loop- 
hole for escape. 


The Law of Suspects 

IN JANUARY OF 1793, Monsieur Beauchet was again in 
Chavaniac and spent less than twenty-four hours at the 
chateau. Gouverneur Morris had suggested that Adrienne 
might write to the King of Prussia and had sent her the draft 
of a letter to sign. She thought the tone of the letter was too 
humble, too crawling, and composed one of her own. 

At Morris' suggestion, she also wrote to the Princess of 
Orange, sister of the Prussian King, and to the Prussian 
Prime Minister, Lucchessini. Adrienne had happened to see 
in a foreign journal, an article by the German playwright, 
Klopstock, in which he spoke admiringly of Lafayette. She 
wrote to him at once, thinking that this might start a pro- 
Lafayette movement among German intellectuals. All of 
these letters she gave to two Italian plasterers who had been 
working under Monsieur Vaudoyer's direction and who 
were going home to Italy. 

She was ready to snatch at any straw that drifted within 
her reach. In March, not having heard from Washington, 



she wrote to him again. Had her letter failed to reach him? 
"Was it necessary that it should arrive to excite your interest? 
I cannot believe it! But I confess that your silence and the 
abandonment of Monseiur de Lafayette and his family for 
the last six months are, of all our evils, the most inexplicable 
to me. ... I will only add that my confidence in General 
Washington, though severely tried, still remains firm." 

Often many weeks went by without Adrienne's hearing 
what was going on in the great world except as reported in 
the press. Then Beauchet would appear with first-hand news 
of her family and of what was going on in Paris. At the time 
of his January visit, he described in sorrowful detail the trial 
for treason of King Louis, then in progress. After Beauchet 
had gone, the Paris papers reported the King's execution on 
January 23rd. 

A few days later, Adrienne read of the removal of Mon- 
sieur Roland from the ministry. His fate, like her husband's, 
had been bound up with that of the King. Roland had al- 
ways been at odds with the radical Commune of Paris and 
wanted Louis' penalty to be decided by a national plebiscite. 
Adrienne no longer had a potent friend in office. 

The Girondins were now on the defensive. They were 
faced in the Convention by the Paris Jacobins, a grimly de- 
termined group who were bent on establishing a strong 
centralized government and even, if necessary, a dictatorship 
to meet the dangers, internal and external, that had mush- 
roomed in the early months of 1793. 

On the ist of February, war was declared between France 
and England. An even mightier anti-French coalition was 
formed, including not only Great Britain but all of Europe 
except Russia. At the same time, a serious revolt against 
military conscription broke out in La Vendee. The dlan 
which had carried the French to victory in the first few 


months after the fall of the monarchy faltered. There were 
reverses on every front, though political agents were sent to 
the armies to see that their leaders were making every effort, 
and the threat of the guillotine hung over those who failed. 
In March, General Dumouriez, the most competent French 
commander, was defeated and promptly deserted to the 

This had a direct effect upon Adrienne. Officials came again 
from Le Puy to go through the papers in her desk, for 
Dumouriez had once been her husband's colleague. A repre- 
sentative of the Committee of General Safety, Lacoste, was 
traveling through the Haute Loire in April making investi- 
gations and Adrienne heard that he was saying that she, the 
wife of another general who had left his troops and gone 
across the border, should be arrested. She resented the com- 
parison between Dumouriez, who had sold out completely 
to the Austrians, and Lafayette, who had flatly refused to 
give them any military information. She thought she would 
forestall any move the Paris emissary might make against her 
by paying him a personal visit. Again she went to Brioude; 
she found Lacoste in the city hall. 

"I have come to tell you, Monsieur," she said, "that though 
I am always glad to be a hostage for Monsieur de Lafayette 
I am not willing to be a hostage for one of his enemies. Be- 
sides, it would make no difference to Monsieur Dumouriez 
if I lived or died ... All I ask is that I should be left with 
my children in the only place that is bearable to me while 
their father is a prisoner of the enemies of France." 

The commissioner was surprisingly gentle spoken. "Citi- 
zeness," he said, using the new form of address which had 
been instituted in Paris, "your sentiments are a credit to 

"I don't care particularly about their being a credit to 
me," Adrienne replied. "I only want them to be worthy of 
him my husband." 


She was told that for the present no action would be taken 
against her. 

Other crises, however, could not be dealt with so easily. 
In Paris a debate was underway to decide whether atheism 
or the worship of Rousseau's Supreme Being should be 
declared the state religion and in consequence, persecution 
of priests became common in the provinces. Several were 
mobbed to death at Le Puy and one at Brioude. One day 
Father Durif, the jolly cur who liked to play shuttlecock 
with the children, was arrested on the village street of Cha- 

Adrienne hurried off to Le Puy to see her friend, de 
Mountfleury of the department Council. He had told her 
that he would rescue any unfortunate person she recom- 
mended to him, but his position in the department was 
becoming precarious and^in this case he could only give 

The charge brought against the cur6 was the old one that 
in the past had been overlooked; he had refused, as so many 
others had refused, to take the civil oath. He was to be tried 
at Aurat before a jury made up of peasants. The Mayor of 
the Commune, who would preside at the trial, was Monsieur 
Guitandry, the doctor whom Lafayette had set up in practice 
at Chavaniac. It was to be expected, therefore, that the pris- 
oner would be acquitted. The rub would come, when the 
decision was submitted to the district court in Brioude for 

After the trial, which smoothly ran its predicted course, 
Adrienne went to Brioude and found that the outlook there 
for the case was very bad. Power was pyramiding in France. 
The court was afraid that the judgment was too favorable 
and might be questioned at Le Puy. This would be a black 
mark against the Brioude judges, and for the defendant, as 
Adrienne knew, it would be fatal. 


She took it on herself to delay the referral to Le Puy for 
a few days, using her formidable powers of persuasion on 
each of the judges in turn to accept the Commune's decision. 
She succeeded, at least she won over the majority, and Father 
Durif was sent back to Chavaniac, She realized, however, 
that in the process she had made some enemies and that some 
day what she had done might be held against her. She 
couldn't be accused of aristocratic sympathies, but it could 
be said that she was a religious fanatic. 

This was a consideration to be borne in mind if she were 
to ask for special favors and only by means of special favor 
could she gain her end, the end, which she had always kept 
in sight, of reaching her husband. She clung to it desperately 
while the Paris papers reported one military disaster after 
another and all the confusing attack and counter attack that 
was going on in the National Convention. 

The Girondins could control the votes, but it became in- 
creasingly plain that they could neither keep order in the 
country nor, what was even more important, wage a foreign 
war and win. Only force could oust them; this the Paris 
Commune was eager to supply. 

On Sunday, June 2nd how many violent Sundays had 
Paris known in the last few yearsl the Convention hall was 
surrounded by armed roughs, hired by the Commune for 
forty sous a day. There was no blood letting, but the Giron- 
dins were turned out into the street. From now on the 
Commune and a new Committee of Public Safety, which had 
been formed in April, would govern France and govern it 
by the systematic use of fear and repression. A Reign of 
Terror was about to begin. 

For some time Adrienne did not feel the weight of the 
heavy hand that lay over her. There was no appreciable 
change in her situation. Moreover, she was completely ab- 
sorbed by a letter that had come into her possession, a letter 


written in Gilbert's familiar pointed script. The old longing 
to be with him flared up again and seared her. 

That she should hear from her husband at all after 
eight months of silence was due to the efforts of Gouverneur 
Morris. The American minister had at last bestirred himself. 
He was visited in Paris by Madame d'Ayen and later by 
Louise de Noailles, who told him she had heard that Lafa- 
yette and his companions were being all but starved in the 
fortress of Madgebourg near Berlin, where they were trans- 
ferred from Wesel soon after Pauline de Montagu viewed 
the fortress on her way to Holland. 

Morris did not believe this rumor any more than Short 
believed that Lafayette was dead or had gone mad, but he 
sent the equivalent of 10,000 florins in United States money 
to Germany that Lafayette could draw upon for food and 
doctor's bills. In making these arrangements, Morris asked 
permission from the Prussian War Ministry for Lafayette to 
write and receive a few letters, under the supervision of the 
commandant of the fortress. In February, Adrienne wrote 
via Morris, taking care in this first attempt to communicate 
to say nothing that might be censored and to give as rosy a 
picture as possible of affairs at Chavaniac. 

The news she read so eagerly in June was two months old. 
Lafayette, writing like a schoolboy under the coldly critical 
eye of a Prussian officer, could not tell her what life was like 
in a Prussian prison and, besides, he did not want to worry 
her unnecessarily. 

He and his fellow prisoners had been kept, both at Wesel 
and Magdebourg, in dark little underground cells infested 
with rats and vermin. They had been badly fed and deprived 
of sunlight, air, and exercise. All had fallen ill and Lafayette 
had had a return of an old pulmonary complaint that twice 
before, in happier days, had put him to bed for months at a 


time. He admitted to Adrienne that he had not been well but 
told her that he was taking as good care of himself as possible. 

He had been much alone. The only familiar face that Lafa- 
yette had seen, except on rare occasions, had been that of his 
valet, Chavaniac. For an hour each day, Chavaniac was al- 
lowed to visit the cell and for an hour the two men from 
Auvergne would forget their troubles and gossip of their 
home town and its inhabitants. Lafayette asked Adrienne to 
go to see Chavaniac's father, the village tailor, and to give 
him six louis that was due him. 

She must also tell the parents of Flix Pontonnier, his 
other employee, that their boy was well. F61ix, who was only 
sixteen, might easily have escaped when the others were 
taken in Belgium but he had not been willing to desert his 
patron. When the Prussians learned that Flix had been 
Lafayette's secretary and could read and write, he, too, was 
kept in solitary confinement 

Yet another matter that weighed on Lafayette's mind was 
La Belle Gabrielle Plantation and the Negro emancipation 
scheme for which Adrienne had done so much when they 
were living in the Rue de Bourbon. He hoped that the work- 
ers at La Belle Gabrielle had not suffered because of the 
change of government in France and that Adrienne had been 
able to do something for them. 

He was sorry, he said, that he could write so little and so 
insipidly. She must know how great a faith he had in her 
courage and capability and how constantly he thought of her 
and all at Chavaniac. The very thought that what he wrote 
might be read in his home gave a lift to his spirit. 

"Adieu, dear heart adieu again. Here is an end to my 
paper and, Monsieur le Commandant who is watching me 
write, must find the time long. I embrace you as tenderly as 
I love you." 

There was consolation in those final words, but on Adri- 
enne the total effect of the letter was depressing. It pointed 


up how little she had been able to accomplish in spite of all 
her strivings. 

The only replies to the many letters she had written was 
one from the Princesse of Orange that said nothing and 
one from President Washington, telling her as gently as pos- 
sible that he could do nothing for Lafayette officially though 
he had sent, through a bank in Holland, a personal gift of 
money to the prisoner. 

As for Adrienne's business affairs at Le Puy, they were still 
unsatisfactory. Lafayette could not realize how impossible 
it was for his wife to do anything about their responsibilities 
at Cayenne or even how difficult it was to set aside six louts 
for the village tailor. Adrienne's resources were almost at an 
end; all income from Auvergne and Brittany had ceased. 

Spurred to a final effort, she sent Monsieur Beauchet, her 
faithful mail runner, to Gouverneur Morris with a request 
for a loan of 100,000 limes, giving as security all her dower 
rights in Lafayette's estate for which she had registered a 
claim at Le Puy. Morris granted her the loan, saying 
graciously that he was sure the American government would 
reimburse him if she could not; he began to send her the 
money a little at a time, with Beauchet as purveyor. Adrienne 
used what she received to settle her most pressing debts and 
reserved part to pay the running expenses of the chateau, 
which had been put on an austerity program. 

In the course of her financial negotiations she had to sign 
many legal documents. It was becoming a common practice 
for the wives of emigrant Frenchmen to get a civil divorce 
from their husbands for reasons of business or security, often 
with the hope of remarriage in the future. The idea was 
suggested to Adrienne, but she recoiled from it in horror. 
Even if she had not been the faithful daughter of a church 
that banned divorce, she would not have stooped to such a 
subterfuge if the benefit to herself and her children had been 
ten thousand times greater than it was. Each petition, each 


statement to which she put her hand began or ended with 
the proud words the Wife of Lafayette. 

As the summer ran its course, Adrienne scanned the hori- 
zon for a way to open, a way out. Several of the Girondin 
leaders had left Paris to head up revolt in provincial cities 
at Toulon, Bordeaux, Lyons, Caen. It seemed for a time 
as if the rebellion at Lyons might succeed and Adrienne 
thought that she might be able to get there. But the Com- 
mittee of Public Safety was waging war as vigorously at 
home as abroad and even more ferociously. When the 
Girondin defense of Lyons failed and the city had fallen, 
hundreds of its citizens were lined up against its walls to 
be shot. The Convention decreed that the town itself should 
be razed and the name of its site changed to Commune- 

But somehow, in spite of the dreadful news that filtered 
into Chavaniac and none of it was as dreadful as the reality 
life went on much as usual in Adrienne's home. She spent 
much time with her children. She saw that they did their 
lessons. She read aloud to them as her mother had once read 
aloud to her and her sisters in a room looking out on the 
peaceful garden of the Hotel de Noailles. 

With Anastasie, Virginie, and George, Adrienne took long 
walks through the woods and fields surrounding the chateau. 
Sometimes they would set off with a book and would sit 
down to read in a spot by a rushing stream where there was 
a particularly spacious view of what Virginie called "our 
charming mountains." On Sundays, Adrienne and her chil- 
dren met with the women of the village to recite the rosary 
and to read the prayers of the Mass that could no longer be 
celebrated in the Chavaniac church after Father Durif s 

On September i7th, a Law of Suspects was passed, under 
which all ci-devant nobles and relatives of &nigrs could be 


confined in "Houses of Detention" to be set up in the prin- 
cipal town of each district. Adrienne was alarmed at first 
not so much for herself as for those of her family who were 
still in Paris. 

The previous autumn, Rosalie de Grammont and her hus- 
band had gone to an estate they owned at Villersexel in 
Franche Comt6; and in the spring the Due d'Ayen returned 
to Switzerland. The Duchess and Louise had stayed on at 
St. Germain, though Louise's husband, Louis de Noailles, 
who had escaped from the country and was in England, urged 
his wife to join him there. But Louise did not want to leave 
her mother alone. For a time they both thought of coming 
to Chavaniac and had even gotten their passports when the 
Due Mar&hal de Noailles, Adrienne's grandfather, fell seri- 
ously ill and they felt that they must stay to be near him. 
When he died in August, there was his widow, the old 
Mar^chale, to be nursed. Only a few days before the decree 
of September i7th, they all returned to Paris, were visited 
by the police, and were put under house arrest in the Rue 
St. Honor. 

Adrienne learned that the only possible protection from 
being declared a suspect herself was to get a new card of 
citizenship, which would have to be examined and counter- 
signed by a special committee in each district. At Aurat, she 
procured cards for herself and for everyone at the chateau. 
The Commune offered to write her a special recommenda- 
tion for civic virtue, but she felt it would be unwise to make 
any difference between her card and that of Madame de 
Chavaniac, who had said, with her usual emphasis, that she 
didn't want to be represented as a loyalist to a government 
of brigands. 

Adrienne took the cards to Brioude and after some diffi- 
culty got a visa for all of her servants. There was so much 
hostility shown, however, so great a reluctance to certify any 


hireling of the traitor Lafayette, that Adrienne did not even 
try to present her own card or Madame de Chavaniac's. 

A few days later, a member of the Revolutionary Com- 
mittee arrived to examine all papers at the chateau and to 
destroy all, as he put it, that were "tainted" to the smallest 
degree by "feudalism." He was rather surprised to find how 
indifferent Adrienne was to this procedure and how readily 
she handed over her keys. He was still at work when, on 
November igth, 1793, Adrienne received a notice saying 
that she would be arrested as a suspect the following day. 

She said nothing to her family until the morning came. 
She softened the announcement by saying that she was sure 
that she wouldn't be detained very long. All, even the chil- 
dren, realized the seriousness of the situation. The excite- 
ment, the high spirits which preceded Adrienne's first arrest 
had long since evaporated. There were no woods now to 
which one could fly, no friends to whom one could appeal. 

That afternoon the examination of the papers was brought 
to an end. The commissioner had collected a large pile of 
yellowed deeds to property and family records. These he 
loaded into a cart, along with a bust of the late King. He had 
announced that there would be a Revolutionary ffite held in 
the town that evening and that all its inhabitants should 
come to dance about the bonfire. 

Towards evening the officer who would make the arrest 
his name was Granchier appeared. All the family were 
gathered, as they had often gathered before, in Adrienne's 
sitting room. The order was read aloud. Adrienne produced 
an old card of citizenship. Granchier handed it back to her, 
saying that it was out-of-date and that it had not been signed 
by the Brioude committee. 

In the silence that followed, Anastasie spoke up, "Citizen, 
are daughters prevented from going to prison with their 

"Yes, Mademoiselle." 


Anastasie, cheeks flaming, tears brimming her eyes, in- 
sisted that though she was not to be sixteen until next July, 
she was in her sixteenth year. She was therefore an adult and 
a suspect. She should be included under the law that affected 

Granchier seemed embarrassed. Perhaps his embarrassment 
was ideological; one of the declared aims of the revolution 
was to restore private virtue and the sanctity of the home, 
yet here he was separating a mother from her children. Or 
perhaps, being a family man himself, Anastasie's agonized 
insistence had caught him off his guard. Ignoring the girl, 
Granchier changed the subject to some other arrests he had 
already made in the district. The women were all to be 
taken to Brioude, he said. They had been rounded up from 
far and wide and some of them were to sleep tonight in the 
church at Aurat. He would spare Adrienne that discomfort. 
She could spend her last night at home if she would promise 
to come to Aurat in the morning. 

When darkness had fallen, those who looked out of the 
high windows of the chateau saw no bonfire light and heard 
no throb of music in the village. The Revolutionary revel was 
a complete failure. Adrienne's neighbors had heard of her 
arrest and out of sympathy stayed at home with their doors 
closed. Lacking an audience, the cart and its contents was 
moved on to another, more receptive, village. 

The next morning at nine o'clock, Adrienne drove with 
her children to the church at Aurat. There she said goodbye 
to them. 



SHE WAS GONE and without her, the chateau was desolate. 
George and Virginie, with the India-rubber resilience of 
the very young, went back to their ordinary occupations, but 
Anastasie grieved and Aunt Chavaniac was sunk deep in 
sorrow. She and Adrienne might have had differences of 
opinion, but in all fundamentals they were one and the older 
woman had come to lean heavily on the younger. There had 
never been any question as to which of the two was the 
leader. Too late, Madame de Chavaniac realized the im- 
portance to Adrienne of a testimonial from the Commune 
and asked Dr. Guitandry, the Mayor, to write one for her 
niece on official Commune paper. All else in Adrienne's be- 
half she left to Flix Frestel, who was now the active head of 
the household. "I embrace you all," Lafayette had written, 
"and Monsieur Frestel too, for he is really one of the family." 
After November igth, George's school work was frequently 
interrupted because his tutor was often on the road. Frestel 
went every week on horseback to Brioude with a bundle of 
clean clothes for Adrienne. A laundry list was neatly sewed 



to the bundle and on the back of the paper a brief message 
from home was written. In the same way, Adrienne could 
send a few words in reply. 

In the town, Frestel was able to pick up a little news at 
second hand. Adrienne was lodged in what had once been 
a large private dwelling. Meals for which the inmates were 
expected to pay were sent from a tavern across the street 
and the innkeeper, Madame Pelatan, was a friend of the 
Lafayettes. Her young daughter, aged thirteen, went in and 
out of the House of Detention constantly, carrying baskets 
and kettles of food. She always managed to speak with 
Adrienne, though sometimes she was shouted at and slapped 
by the guards for fraternizing with a prisoner. 

With the help of Madame Pelatan, Frestel arranged for 
the Lafayette children to visit their mother more than once 
-T Anastasie first, and later George, then Virginie. They 
would leave the chateau at night and ride along the dark 
mountain roads, arriving at Brioude before it was light. The 
day was spent in hiding at the inn. When it was again dark 
and all the town was quiet, they were let into the prison by 
a jailer whom Frestel had bribed. Sometimes they could stay 
for several hours, but often there was only time for a quick 
embrace in the dark and a few whispered words, for Adrienne 
did not have a room to herself. The prison was overcrowded 
and she and four or five others slept in an alcove, only sepa- 
rated from the corridor by a screen. 

Many of the detained persons at Brioude were of the un- 
reconstructed royalist persuasion, people whom Adrienne 
might have met on her early visits to Chavaniac, but of 
whom she had seen nothing recently. At first they refused to 
speak to the wife of Lafayette. She was better received by 
the less blue-blooded inmates and became particularly 
friendly with the wife of a Brioude baker, a very religious 

Eventually the hostility of the aristocrats disappeared 


when they discovered that Adrienne refused to let differences 
in politics be a bar between them. They were all companions 
in misfortune here and there was so much that they could 
do for one another! Many of the women were old; some were 
ill. Adrienne acted as nurse and learned to cook for invalids. 
She arranged to have her meals with a little group of her 
patients, one of whom was a nun who was almost blind; 
without their realizing it, she bore the greater part of the 
expense. With the jailers she got on so well, that she became 
a spokesman for the prison community and was deputed to 
ask for favors. In this way, but not without being abused for 
her pains, she managed to get one of the most seriously sick 
women moved out of a room where she was sleeping with 
eleven others. 

For a short time, a day in January of 1794, it seemed as if 
the Brioude prison, full to overflowing though it was, might 
have another guest. A commissioner came to the chateau to 
arrest Madame de Chavaniac. She received him with her 
usual intrepidity but when he read out the order of arrest 
she suddenly burst into tears. She had been listed as the 
parent of an &nigr6, but her only child, her daughter, the 
little girl who had been almost a sister to Lafayette, had been 
dead for more than sixteen years. 

"Citizen," she sobbed, "I no longer have the happiness of 
being a mother." 

The commissioner withdrew, overawed by her grief and 
said that, since a mistake had been made and since she was 
so well along in years, she could stay where she was. 

Through her midnight meetings with Frestel and her chil- 
dren, Adrienne was able to get news of her mother and sister 
in Paris and to keep in touch with her business affairs, which 
still needed much personal attention. She asked Frestel to do 
her a favor. Last spring the first parcel of Lafayette real 
estate, a mill at Langeac, had been put up for auction. Adri- 
enne, who was present, had lodged a protest against the con- 


fiscation, and Madame de Chavaniac was able to buy the 
mill with the claim that Adrienne had registered for her as 
one of those to whom Lafayette owed a debt. Now other, 
larger, holdings were to be sold and Adrienne wanted to go- 
on parole, or guarded, if necessary to the sale. 

Frestel journeyed to Le Puy to beg permission from the 
authorities. He was given a bad half hour at the municipal 
building by President Reynaud of the Department Council, 
a successor to Adrienne's friend de Montfleury, who was now 
himself under arrest. The request was angrily rejected. 
Reynaud raged against the Lafayettes. He would like to tear 
out Lafayette's bowels with his own hands, he said. Adrienne 
was "the arrogance of the Noailles family personified," and 
her children were "little serpents that the Republic had 
nurtured in its bosom." 

Frestel came home much shaken and full of gloomy fore- 
bodings for the future. He was glad to hear later that Rey- 
naud had been recalled to Paris but that only meant that the 
man's venom had been shifted to the place where it could 
do the greater harm. 

As long as she was at Brioude, Adrienne might be irked 
by restraint and lack of privacy but she was in no immediate 
danger. The threat that hung over her and all others in 
similar plight was of being taken to Paris and of being called 
before the Tribunal of the Committee of Public Safety. The 
fact that she was a woman would be no protection; since the 
execution of the Queen in October, women were being in- 
cluded in the national blood purge. 

The winter dragged to its end and it seemed as if she 
might have been forgotten. It was lambing time in Auvergne; 
it would soon be time to take the cattle to the high pastures. 
Spring was far advanced when, early on a morning at the 
very end of May, a messenger arrived at Chavaniac to say 


that the order had come from Paris. Adrienne after six 
months of detention was to leave that very day at noon. 

Frestel hurriedly collected all the jewelry in the chateau 
that had not been sold, the servants contributing their share, 
and galloped with it to Brioude. The children were to fol- 
low as quickly as they could in a carriage. He found that 
Adrienne had been removed from the House of Detention 
and was in the common jail. It was a shock to see her in a 
cell in which there was nothing but the cot on which she 
was lying and some chains stretched out on the floor. 

As usual, however, she was in command of herself and of 
the situation. She had seen a priest, none other than Father 
Durif, who had been arrested again and who was so over- 
come by grief that he could hardly listen to her confession. 
She had likewise seen de Montfleury, another prisoner, and 
had asked his advice. Her friends in the House of Detention 
were dismayed to hear that she was leaving them, but she 
refused to be completely downhearted. 

"I am not called before the Revolutionary Tribunal," she 
said stoutly. "I am only being transferred." 

Oddly enough, the officer who was to take her to Paris, a 
Captain of Gendarmerie, was a brother of de Montfleury. 
He was so disposed in Adrienne's favor, even before he had 
seen her, that he refrained from reading aloud the order of 
arrest and merely handed it to her in silence. They should 
have left for Paris yesterday, but he had consented to a 
twenty-four hour delay so that she could see her family. In 
addition to all of this, he had offered to take her in a post- 
chaise instead of an open cart, which was the transportation 
that the government provided in such cases. It was to pay 
for this journey that Frestel had brought the jewelry with 
him from Ghavaniac. 

He and Adrienne discussed what was the best thing for 
him to do and decided that he should follow her as far as 
Melun, near Fontainebleau, where Gouverneur Morris had 


a summer home. The American Minister would, of course, 
help them if he could. 

Soon the children trooped into the cell George and Vir- 
ginie, solemn, frightened, Anastasie crying hysterically. She 
flung herself on her mother. She would not be left behind, 
she cried. When Anastasie heard that Frestel was going to 
Melun she begged so passionately to go with him that Adri- 
enne, seeing how overwrought the girl was, consented. In an 
instant Anastasie was wild with delight. It was almost as if 
her mother was not being taken to Paris if she could follow 
her. She drove off at once to Le Puy to get a traveling permit. 

Frestel left also to prepare for his journey. He already had 
his passport which only needed to be visaed at Aurat. George 
and Virginie remained alone with their mother. Hitherto 
she had shielded them as much as possible. Her own child- 
hood had been so sheltered that it had been a surprise to 
her and her sisters to discover that there was any wickedness, 
any man-made sorrow, in the world. But her children had 
been born to be wise before their time. 

She knelt down and prayed with them. It was Ascension- 
tide and she repeated with them the Veni Sancte Spiritus 
Come, Holy Spirit. She talked very seriously with George 
about his responsibilities. He was now the man of the family. 
He must take care of his sisters; he must comfort his Aunt 

At noon, the postchaise and the Captain arrived at the 
prison. It was time to say goodbye. Adrienne gave the chil- 
dren some last instructions and then the final instruction, 
the one that she had saved to the end so that it would make 
the deepest impression if she should die, she said, George 
and his sisters must make every effort to find their father in 
Germany and to set him free. 

When the postchaise had disappeared, George and Vir- 
ginie went back alone to Chavaniac. Late that night they 
were joined there by Anastasie. She had had a harrowing 


experience at Le Puy. At first the door to the municipal 
building was barred to her. The official whom she finally 
reached was not the one who had stormed at Frestel, but he 
was even more vindictive. 

He had been writing at his desk when Anastasie came in 
and did not even look up at her while she poured out her 
story and begged for the traveling permit. He brushed away 
a letter that Adrienne had written him and refused to read 
it; he couldn't be bothered, he said, to lift so much as his 
little finger for a prisoner who had been summoned to Paris. 
Looking up at last, seeing that Anastasie was a grown girl, 
he made an unpleasant comment on her motives in wanting 
to go to Melun with Frestel and laughed at his own joke. 

Anastasie left the room trembling with rage and disgust. 
She drove back to Aurat where the tutor was waiting for her. 
The officials there were sympathetic, but they did not dare 
to give her the permit. Anastasie, in despair, saw Frestel ride 
away without her, for he couldn't wait a moment longer if 
he was to catch up with the postchaise before it reached 

When Frestel was having his passport signed, one of the 
clerks said sourly, "There goes an officious fellow! He wants 
to defend people who are not worth defending." 

"I only hope that I am clever enough to succeed/' Frestel 
shot back at the man who had taunted him. "If I do, I know 
there are plenty of people even in this room who will envy 

Meanwhile Adrienne and the Captain were on their 
way to Paris, traveling the same roads, passing through the 
same towns where two years earlier there had been triumphal 
arches put up to welcome Lafayette. By the time they drove 
into Melun, Frestel was riding beside them. 
Adrienne was given a day of rest and the opportunity to 


write a letter to each of her children which the tutor would 
take back to Chavaniac after he had seen Gouverneur Mor- 
ris. Frestel told Adrienne of Anastasie's state of mind when 
she returned from Le Puy. In the letter to her elder daughter 
it was the longest of the three Adrienne begged Anastasie 
to stand up to persecution as a Christian should. She should 
try to forgive her enemies, even the man who had treated 
her so cruelly and refused her the permit. 

The travelers noticed no signs of hostility until they 
neared the capital* When they passed through Fontaine- 
bleau, a mob seemed to rise from the cobblestones and sur- 
rounded the postchaise, drumming against its sides with fist 
and stick and shouting threats. This was a frightening fore- 
taste of what might lie ahead. 

Throughout the journey, Adrienne had refrained from 
saying too much about her misfortunes. She knew that the 
Captain was sorry for her and did not want to play upon his 
feelings. Before leaving, she had asked him if there would be 
any chance of escape during the trip and he had said that 
there would be none. Now she asked herself what she would 
do if he should offer to save her. It was not impossible; and 
he might save himself as well. But there was his brother, de 
Montfleury, in prison, who would certainly pay the penalty. 
Would I have the strength to say no, Adrienne wondered. 

In the opposite corner of the chaise, the Captain was 
thinking the same thoughts, but in reverse. He was asking 
himself what he would do if Adrienne should break down 
and beg him pitifully to rescue her. He had seen the two 
pale, frightened children she had whispered to so earnestly 
at the prison door. Would he risk his brother's life? Or would 
he refuse? 

When they were driving through the suburbs of Paris, 
they turned to one another and, as if they had read one an- 
other's minds, they made a joint confession. Now that it was 
too late for action, they could speak out. 


In the press of city traffic the postchaise passed unnoticed. 
It headed towards the Rue Pave and drew up before the 
gate of a building still under construction that adjoined an 
even larger one. This was La Petite Force Prison. The Cap- 
tain, still suffering from a sense of guilt, asked Adrienne if 
there was anything he could do for her, short of setting her 
free. She gave him the address of Monsieur Beauchet, who 
had traveled back and forth so faithfully between Paris and 
Chavaniac and done so much important business for her. 
She wanted the Beauchets, man and wife, to know that she 
was here and if possible to let her mother know. 

Before she left Brioude, Adrienne had learned, to her 
sorrow and consternation, that her mother, her grandmother, 
and Louise had been taken to the Luxembourg Palace, which 
was now used as a House of Detention. They, too, were 
prisoners in all but name. 


June, 1794 January, 1795 


Le Plessis Prison 

THE DAY THAT Adricnnc arrived in Paris was June yth, 
1794, the igth of Prairial, Year II of the new Revolution- 
ary calendar. On the soth of Prairial, the Fte of the Supreme 
Being would be celebrated in the garden of the Tuileries 
the Jardin National, as it was now called. 

A large amphitheater, designed by the painter David, had 
been constructed. There would be music; there would be a 
procession of girls, dressed in white, carrying armfuls of roses. 
At the climax of the day's program, the members of the Paris 
Convention would appear on the palace steps and Robes- 
pierre, its President, the dictator now of France, daintily 
dressed in sky blue coat, silver waistcoat, and golden shoe 
buckles, would make a speech and set fire to dummy figures 
of Atheism, Discord, and Selfishness, while the crowd chanted 
a newly-composed anthem: 

"Thy temple is on the mountains, in 

the winds and on the waves. 
Thou hast no past, no future . . ." 


In preparation for the Fgte, the streets through which Adri- 
enne rode were decorated with green boughs and in prison 
coutryards throughout the city, wreaths of laurel were being 

In Le Plessis Prison in the Rue St. Jacques, across the river 
from La Force, a white-haired, aristocratic lady, who thought 
that all this fanfare for a new religion was foolishness and 
wicked impiety, slipped quietly away from the wreath- 
making and went upstairs to her room. She was the Duchesse 
de Duras, a daughter of the Due de Mouchy, Adrienne's 
great-uncle. She was also a sister of Louis de Noailles, who 
had married Adrienne's sister, Louise. According to the com- 
plicated relationships that existed within the Noailles clan, 
she was a relative of Adrienne by marriage as well as by birth. 

Madame de Duras, who was separated from her husband 
and whose only son had escaped to England, had been living 
quietly in the country with her father and mother when she 
was arrested in August of 1793. She had spent several months 
at Beauvais and Chantilly before being brought, in April, 
to Le Plessis, which housed seventeen hundred "detained 
persons" and which had been a boys boarding school, the 
same school where Lafayette was a pupil when his guardians 
were arranging his marriage with the daughter of the Due 
d f Ayen. Madame de Duras recognized familiar names names 
of men whom she knew well scribbled up, schoolboy fash- 
ion^ on the walls of her new home. 

By this time, she was a seasoned prisoner. Only occasion- 
ally did she allow herself to think how splendid and luxuri- 
ous life had been in the past, though she was sometimes close 
to tears when she looked out of the window and saw the 
roofs of the great houses in which she had been a guest and 
the spires of churches in which she had worshipped. Most 
of the time now, she thought of food, of the small amount of 
money she had managed to conceal, of the little comforts 
she might buy from her greedy jailers. Each day had its prob- 


lems and to her, the future was a blank. She had a stoic con- 
viction, not untinged with pride, that all of her caste were 
doomed to destruction. A law had just been passed that 
"enemies of the people," a term that could be loosely inter- 
preted, were liable for the death penalty and could be tried 
without counsel. Each night when she said her prayers, Mad- 
ame de Duras included her own name in the prayers for the 
dying; she had said them so often that she knew them by 

Life in Le Plessis was disgusting and chaotic. The com- 
pany was mixed; not all here were political suspects. Street- 
walkers and nuns, pickpockets and duchesses shared the 
same bedrooms and scrambled for food at the bare board 
tables in the refectory which were never scrubbed and smelt 
horribly of grease and stale wine. There was squalor in Le 
Plessis, but, though there was much brutality, it was hap- 
hazard and unsystematic. The prisoners were locked in at 
night; they sometimes had to stand at attention for hours at 
the doors of their cells while they were being counted and 
they were forced out into the courtyard daily, rain or shine, 
for exercise. Except for these inconveniences they could do 
very much as they pleased during the daylight hours. 

There was much visiting back and forth. Games of picquet 
and chess were played, musical groups were formed. Madame 
de Duras, who was not sociably inclined, regretted that she 
had so little uninterrupted time for reading. Before leaving 
Chantilly, she had stuffed the pockets of her voluminous 
skirts with books. 

Some were books of devotion well-worn and well- 
thumbed. Madame de Duras, for one, could never forget that 
this horrible place might be the anti-chamber to sudden 
death. A dozen times a day, when a guard appeared and 
they were constantly in and out of the cells on one pretext or 
another she thought that her. last hour had come. She was 
determined to meet her hour as a Noailles should. She was 


so impassive, so unemotional, that one of the jailers paid her 
a sincere compliment. "You would make a fine appearance 
on the scaffold/' he said. 

"I certainly hope so," she answered proudly. 

She had decided that if she were brought before the Tri- 
bunal she would answer no questions. If she were con- 
demned, she would say, "You have sentenced to death an 
innocent woman. As a Christian, I forgive you but you in 
turn will be judged by a God of Vengeance!" 

Though in the old days Madame de Duras would have 
gone a long way round to avoid meeting a condemned man 
on his way to the gallows, she now ran to the window when- 
ever she heard the creaking of wheels in the street and the 
opening of the outer gate of the prison, which announced 
the arrival or departure of a fresh batch of prisoners. One 
day, a fortnight after the FSte of the Supreme Being, a con- 
voy arrived from La Petite Force. Madame de Duras, looking 
down, recognized a familiar face in the crowd that was being 
hustled into the courtyard of the prison. It was the face of 
her cousin, Adrienne de Lafayette, the sister of her sister-in- 
law, Louise. They had not met for several years. Madame de 
Duras, whose mother had been chief lady in waiting to Marie 
Antoinette, was of the court party and had firmly turned her 
back on the radical Lafayettes. 

As soon as the newcomers were enrolled at the office and 
were allowed to mingle with the other inmates, Madame de 
Duras hurried to find her cousin, to embrace and kiss her as 
affectionately as if they had parted only yesterday after a 
harmonious family dinner party. 

The older woman and the senior captive took the 
younger under her wing and inducted her into the ways of 
Le Plessis. Madame de Duras felt that Adrienne, who had 
led so pure a life in a society where there was much philan- 
dering, needed her protection. She herself had gone to great 
pains and some expense to get a tiny single room on the fifth 


floor of the building where she would not have to listen to 
the loud-mouthed quarrels, the moans and nightmare mut- 
terings of fellow sleepers. She did the same for Adrienne, 
though the room was a mere cubbyhole, just large enough 
for a cot and nothing else. 

During the day the cousins were often together. Unlike 
though they were in temperament there was little warmth 
and little magnetism in Madame de Duras' make-up they 
shared a common background and a common anxiety for 
their relatives in the Luxembourg, only a few blocks from 
Le Plessis. 

Adrienne's mother, sister, and grandmother had only been 
there since the end of April, but her cousin's parents had 
been there all the winter. The Due and Duchesse de Mouchy 
were arrested in October and Madame de Duras had asked 
to be brought to Paris from Chantilly, thinking that she 
might be with them. During the past months much of her 
little hoard of money had been spent in corresponding with 
the Luxembourg. Letters could be despatched and received 
through the prison office but at a price. 

On the whole, the news from day to day had been better 
than one could expect. The Duke and Duchess were old and 
ailing and had never completely recovered from the shock 
of being separated from their child, but they were not too 
uncomfortable in their present quarters. They were familiar 
with the Luxembourg. The Duchess had, in fact, been born 
there, her mother having been lady in waiting to a royal 
princess in the days of Louis XIV. 

A devoted servant, Madame Latour, had followed her 
master and mistress to the prison, served their meals, which 
were sent in from the Hotel de Mouchy, and helped them to 
dress in the morning something they had never learned to 
do for themselves. A daily programme was followed, similar 
to the routine to which they were accustomed. In the morn- 


ing the Duke and his wife took a slow-paced walk in the 
courtyard or the corridors while their room was being tidied; 
after dinner they played cards and "received" their friends; 
in the evenings they read the newspaper, though Madame 
Latour would sometimes hide it if she saw that there was 
anything in it that might distress them. 

They had been disturbed when their Noailles relatives 
arrived in April and were given the room above them, for 
the old Duchesse Marchale de Noailles, the de Mouchys' 
sister-in-law, was eccentric, to say the least. She had once 
stolen a holy relic from a church and had corresponded, so 
she thought, with the Blessed Virgin, whom she called "that 
little bourgeoise of Nazareth." The Duke feared that the 
Marchale might commit some fatal indiscretion. 

Shortly before Adrienne came to Le Plessis, Madame de 
Duras learned that a great calamity had befallen her parents; 
their beloved Latour, who was so indispensable to them, had 
been ordered to pack her belongings and to leave the prison. 
Madame de Duras saw in this a very evil omen. 

There was still more disturbing news on June 26th, two 
days after Adrienne's arrival. Madame de Duras received a 
note from her father, saying that her mother had had a vio- 
lent attack of indigestion in the night. He had done what 
he could for her, neighbors had helped, and one of them, a 
doctor, had prescribed a few grains of emetic with good re- 
sult, but the patient was still very weak. He would certainly 
write to his daughter again the following day. He ended, as 
always, "We embrace you and love you, my dear child, very 

On the following day, Madame de Duras repeatedly went 
down the five long flights of stairs from her room to the office 
on the ground floor to ask for a letter, but always in vain. 
It grew late. She was told that no more mail would come that 
day. She sought out some women who had husbands at the 
Luxembourg and who heard from them regularly. She asked 


them if they could tell her anything about her father and 
mother, the Due and Duchesse de Mouchy. Some said no. 
Some seemed embarrassed and evasive. 

All evening she could talk of nothing else to her compan- 
ions and noticed how they withdrew from her, almost as if 
they were frightened. "They are hiding something from me," 
she said to Adrienne. "I can guess what all of you are trying 
to keep secret. Cousin, you will have some dreadful news to 
tell me tomorrow." 

Early next morning, as soon as she was let out of her room, 
Adrienne went to Madame de Duras' door. She had been 
selected as the one to tell her cousin that there had been no 
letter yesterday because the old people had been taken to 
the Conciergerie before the Duke had had a chance to write. 
At the Conciergerie, prisoners spent but a single night be- 
fore appearing at the bar of the Tribunal in the Hotel de 

The de Mouchys had been accused, among many other 
crimes against the state, of having caused the massacre in 
the Champ de Mars on July i7th, 1791. After three years of 
uncounted, immeasurable bloodshed, the memory of the 
day when Lafayette had ordered his men to fibre on the crowd 
about the Altar of Liberty still rankled and could be used 
to deadly effect. No defense being allowed to the accused, 
Madame de Duras' parents were executed within a few 

Adrienne, who knew only that they were gone, did not 
need to speak. One look at her sorrowful face was enough. 
Madame de Duras' iron composure was broken. She asked 
in a voice strangled by sobs to be left alone. For several days 
she did not leave her room and only came out at last to pay 
a visit of condolence on one of her neighbors, who, she 
learned, had just lost her husband and her sixteen-year-old 


* * * 


For the tempo of executions was quickening now. 
The Terror, which had been adopted as a policy to enforce 
obedience to the state, had become an end in itself, while 
the state had dwindled to the will of a single individual. 
Sixty persons were being put to death daily at the Barrifere 
de Trdne outside the city walls. Daily, prisoners disappeared 
from Le Plessis. No sooner had they gone than their beds in 
the dormitories were filled by fresh arrivals and the jailers, 
who always snatched up the few belongings that were left 
behind, did a brisk business in selling to newcomers. 

Under pressure of despair, a few took what seemed to 
them the easiest, the least painful exit. In the portion of the 
prison where the men were kept segregated from the women, 
a man summoned to the Conciergerie stabbed himself and 
was carried out, still living, on a litter. One day when Adri- 
enne and Madame de Duras were in the refectory, a young 
woman leaped out of an unbarred window to her death in 
the courtyard. But these were isolated cases. There was a 
tendency among the survivors Madame de Duras, the fatal- 
ist, had noticed it to discover reasons why one should escape 
and another be taken. 

It was in this way that Adrienne tried to persuade herself 
that her mother, sister, and grandmother would be over- 
looked. Her great-uncle, the Due de Mouchy, had been a 
Marshal of France and had held many important offices; the 
Duchess also had been closely identified with the Queen. 
None of the three Noailles women now left in the Luxem- 
bourg had been in any way prominent. The Mar&hale was 
old and senile. Madame d'Ayen had always led a very re- 
tired life, seldom going to Versailles, devoting herself entirely 
to her children and her grandchildren. And Louise how 
could anyone think that Louise, with her angelic face and 
gentle ways, was capable of the sinister political plotting that 
was now being used as the most common accusation? 

Though she had always been able to face up to reality, as 


far as it affected herself, without flinching, Adrienne con- 
tinued to hope, though Madame de Duras gave her no en- 
couragement. Several weeks passed. On July nd a rumor- 
one never knew where these rumors originated began to 
circulate in the prison that some members of the Noailles 
family had been guillotined. Madame de Duras heard it first 
and kept it to herself. She questioned the jailers, but they 
were unusually reticent. Newspapers seldom penetrated to 
Le Plessis, but one came her way; in it was a brief notice 
saying the Duchesse Marchale de Noailles and the Duchesse 
d'Ayen had been executed. 

It might not be true, however; one couldn't believe every- 
thing that was printed nowadays. Madame de Duras used 
some of her little supply of assignats to bribe a jailer to go 
to the Luxembourg to make inquiries. He brought back 
word that confirmed the newspaper item. Louise, of whom 
no mention had been made, was also dead. 

Still Madame de Duras hesitated to say anything to Adri- 
enne. Her cousin had been so kind to her in her own be- 
reavement, and so kind to others, that she shrank from telling 
her. She, too, had been deeply attached to Louise, who, be- 
ing so much younger than she, she had looked upon almost 
as a daughter. 

Again it was the embarrassment and silence of others that 
forewarned the victim. Adrienne, alarmed at last, finding 
that people looked away when she spoke to them, came run- 
ning to Madame de Duras with a direct question "they are 
dead?" Again Madame de Duras could not speak for her 


Outside the Walls of the City 

IT WAS NOT UNTIL many weeks, and even months, later that 
Adrienne learned the pitiful details from two persons 
who were close to her mother and sister during their last 

When in April the three women were told that they must 
go to the Luxembourg they were not very much alarmed. 
During their house arrest in the Hotel de Noailles they had 
become used to never going out, to being visited only by a 
few intimate friends, among whom was a priest, Father Car- 
richon, who came regularly to see the old Duchess and some- 
times stayed to dinner. Their chief concern was leaving 
behind them Louise's three children, Alexis, Alfred, and 
Euphmie. Euphmie, who was only four-years-old, was sent 
to board with a Madame Thibaut who lived at Saint Mand 
on the edge of the Bois de Vincennes. The boys would go 
back to the house of their grandfather, the Due de Mouchy, 
in the Rue de l'Universit6 and live in the suite of rooms 
formerly occupied by their father. They would be cared for 
by their tutor, Monsieur Grelet. 



Monsieur Grelet was only twenty-three-years-old, a lay 
brother of a monastic order. He had been teacher of the 
youngest class in the Oratory School that the boys had at- 
tended. Grelet had shared what little money he had with the 
family, which had been living for some time past on what 
could be realized by selling jewelry and knickknacks. Louise 
was so grateful to this generous and devoted young man that 
she had adopted him spiritually if not legally as her eldest 
son, and the many letters she wrote to him after leaving 
home began with the words, "my dear child." 

Twice a day a basket of food was brought from the Hotel 
de Mouchy to the Luxembourg and this was the means of 
carrying on the correspondence. Louise was busy from morn- 
ing to night with house cleaning, making beds, washing 
dishes, and caring for her two elderly companions. She asked 
for brooms, cooking utensils, and screens to be sent from 
home to make their room more livable. One of her commis- 
sions for Grelet was for two ear trumpets; both her mother 
and grandmother were deaf and she had to shout so loudly 
to make them hear that she was afraid she was annoying her 
next door neighbors. The old Mar6chale, always notional 
and flighty, was a difficult patient. At night Louise tied one 
end of a string to her own arm, the other to her grand- 
mother's bed so that she would be sure to wake if the old 
lady was restless and needed attention. 

When the food basket arrived, Louise would hastily scrib- 
ble a note for Grelet or Alexis. She told the boys to be sure 
to speak of her to Euph&nie when they went, as they often 
did, to Saint Mand; Euph&nie was so young that she might 
forget her mother. 

Louise was anxious, she begged for news, when Alfred was 
sick for several days in May. The boys must work hard at 
their lessons, she wrote, but they must also be out-of-doors 
often in the fresh air. They came sometimes to play in the 
Luxembourg gardens and she told them that she would be 


looking out of a friend's window to see them. If they caught 
sight of her, they must be careful not to wave or to show any 
sign of excitement, for someone a guard might be watch- 

After the death of the Due and Duchesse de Mouchy, 
Louise asked for a white dress, the only mourning she could 
wear for her husband's parents. Her own death, she realized, 
might be near and she confided to Grelet how earnestly she 
struggled to accept the will of God. Sometimes she was frozen 
with terror of what might lie ahead and was humiliated to 
find how tenaciously she clung "to this unhappy earth," in 
spite of all its sorrows. She wrote a will and a letter to her 
husband telling him that it was her last wish that the boys 
and also Euph&nie should remain under Grelet's care. She 
wrote also to Alexis, telling him that some day he must tell 
his father how much they owed to the tutor. To Grelet him- 
self she wrote, "You are my only, but my abundant, conso- 
lation on this earth." 

On the evening of July sist, Grelet was walking towards 
the Luxembourg, carrying a bundle of things that Louise 
had asked him to bring her. When he came in sight of the 
prison, he saw from far off that a large crowd was gathered 
around the gate. He left his package in a shop in the Rue 
Tournon so as not to be too conspicuous. As he drew nearer, 
he saw that there was a big open wagon with seats down the 
two sides, standing in front of the prison. The crowd had 
gathered to see some prisoners taken to the Conciergerie. 
Grelet had seen such sights before unmoved, but this time 
he felt a dreadful premonition. 

He pushed through the crowd to get as dose to the gate 
as possible. A wicket swung open and the doorman, who 
knew him by sight and knew his errand, looked out and 
waved him away. "Be off with you/' he said. "They're in 
for it." 

Grelet ducked back into the crowd and waited until the 


doorman had disappeared before trying to edge closer. In a 
few moments, the gate itself was opened and the prisoners 
began to file out, preceded by two guards. Louise de Noailles 
was the first woman to appear. She passed so close to Grelet 
that she was able to take his hand and squeeze it affection- 
ately. Grelet was aware that a guard was watching them. 
Louise was helped into the wagon; her mother and grand- 
mother came next, followed by a dozen or more men and 

For some time the wagon stood still and Louise, looking 
at the tutor, clasped her hands and bowed her head, her lips 
moving in prayer. She gestured a benediction and then 
three more for Alexis, Alfred, and Euph&nie. Her mother 
also saw Grelet and raised her hand several times to her lips 
to symbolize a kiss. All this pantomime was not lost upon 
the crowd. People began to look about them to see who was 
being signaled. Grelet stared stolidly ahead of him. When 
at last the procession began to move, he plodded close beside 
the wagon. 

They were crossing the Pont Neuf when Grelet, still close 
to Louise, heard a shout behind him: "I arrest you! You 
there I know you!" It was the guard who had seen Louise 
clasp his hand. 

Grelet took to his heels and raced down the Quai des 
Lunettes, the gendarme in pursuit and shouting, "Stop him 

Grelet turned the corner into the Rue de Harlay and 
would have won the race if a crowd of workmen had not just 
then begun to pour out into the street from a factory. Several 
tried to stop the fugitive but Grelet slashed at them with 
his cane. He was almost out of the crowd and could see ahead 
an empty street where the going would be good when he 
stumbled and went down with two men on top of him. 

The gendarme pounded up. "He was communicating with 
a prisoner/' he panted. 


A few minutes later, Grelet found himself walking into a 
police station near the Conciergerie. Just before the door 
closed on him, he saw the van from the Luxembourg dis- 
charging its freight at the prison door. 

Grelet was pushed into a dark little cell and for several 
precious moments was alone. He had time to get some papers 
out of his pocket, tear them to pieces, chew them to a pulp 
and swallow what he could of the sticky lump. When the 
jailer returned, the prisoner was asked for the card of iden- 
tity that all citizens of Paris were supposed to carry, giving 
name, address, and occupation. 

Grelet handed over his card. "Let me tell you how it hap- 
pened," he said. 

He told the guard what was almost, but not quite, the 
truth; he had been near the Luxembourg by chance when 
the prisoners were coming out, and one of them recognized 
him and took his hand-that was all, not a single word had 
passed between them. 

The man listened impassively and went away with the 
card. He was gone for a very long time, so long that Grelet 
could picture with anguish a squad of police knocking at 
the door of the Hotel de Mouchy and ransacking it from top 
to bottom. There were letters, including all the correspond- 
ence with Louise, hidden in the rooms that Grelet occupied 
with the children. He had told Alexis where they were and 
to destroy them if any strange men came to the house while 
he was away. But Alexis might not have had time; the child 
ought to be in bed and asleep at this hour. Grelet realized 
that his very life might depend on the quick thinking and 
prompt action of a boy who was only eleven-years-old. 

After what seemed an endless wait it had been several 
hours the guard returned. "Here's your card," he said 
gruffly. "Now get out. And the next time don't stand so close 
to a prisoner." 

Grelet took his card and cane and, as he went out into the 


night, felt a brief moment of absolute happiness. Then he 
remembered the three women whom he had last seen vanish- 
ing into the Conciergerie. They must have seen him dash 
away with the gendarme running after him. He hoped that 
it would be some comfort to them to know that he had es- 
caped and that the children were not left unprotected. 

It was eleven o'clock when Grelet reached the Hotel de 
Mouchy. All was peaceful there, though the two little boys 
were still wide awake. They were full of questions. They 
told him how frightened they were when he didn't come 
home at his usual time. 

Grelet said that he had had a lot of business to attend to 
and had been detained. He couldn't tell them about it now 
because it was so late, but tomorrow he would surely tell 
them. This seemed to satisfy the boys. After the tutor had 
heard them say their prayers, he put them to bed. 

Very early the next morning, at six o'clock, Grelet woke 
the children and said that they were going to spend the day 
in the country. They would go to Saint Mand< to see their 
sister Euph&nie. On the way they would call on Father Car- 

Father Carrichon, the priest who had visited Louise 
and her mother while they were still under house arrest, had 
made a promise that he hoped and at the time believed he 
would never have to fulfill. He was talking with them of the 
executions that were becoming more and more frequent, of 
the need to be prepared for death, since no one, apparently, 
was safe. "If you should ever go to the guillotine," Father 
Carrichon said, "I God helping me would go with you." 

They took him at his word and several times thereafter 
reminded him that he had agreed to be with them at the end 
and to give them Absolution. 

On the morning of July 22nd, the priest was just about to 


go out on an errand when there came a knock at his door. 
He opened to find Madame de Noailles' two sons and their 
tutor. The boys seemed to be in high spirits, but the tutor 
was pale and haggard. 

"Let's go into your bedroom," Grelet whispered. "We will 
leave the children here in the study." 

When the door was closed, the tutor sank down in an arm- 
chair and covered his face with his hands. "It is all over, 
Father," he groaned. "The three Noailles ladies are to appear 
before the Revolutionary Tribunal today. I have come to 
remind you again of your promise. The boys are going with 
me to Vincennes to see their sister. When we are in the 
woods, I will try to prepare their minds a little for this ter- 
rible tragedy." 

Father Carrichon was horrified. Priest though he was and 
used to minister to the dying, he shrank from the sight of 
death and such a death as this! He thought of the boys in 
the next room who were looking forward to a day in the 
country, who could hardly wait to reach the woods; he 
thought of the baby sister who would not be old enough to 

"I'll go," he said. "I'll change my clothes but what an 
errand! Please God to give me strength to see it throughl" 
The boys were skylarking when the priest and Grelet re- 
turned to the study. Father Carrichon saw them go off gaily. 
God have pity on them and on me, he groaned as he took 
off his cassock and put on a blue coat and a red waistcoat. 
Nowadays it was unsafe to wear canonicals in the street; he 
had told the Noailles women when he made them his prom- 
ise that he would wear a red waistcoat so that they would be 
sure to recognize him in a crowd. 

At two o'clock, very heavy hearted, his head aching vio- 
lently, Father Carrichon went to the Palais de Justice. The 
great gate into the courtyard was closed. He questioned a 
man who was coming out and learned that the Tribunal had 


only just begun and would be in session for several hours* 
He went away, did some trivial errands, and drank a cup of 
coffee at a friend's house to clear his head. At five, he was 
back at the Palace. 

There was still no sign of the court having risen. Father 
Carrichon wandered restlessly about the building, climbed 
the steps to the Sainte Chapelle, sat down there a moment, 
returned to the great hall, and frequently went to listen for 
any signs of life in the courtyard. He wanted this hour to 
pass quickly, yet dreaded its end. 

At six there was a sound of movement, the opening of 
heavy doors, the creaking of wagon wheels. The tumbrils 
were being loaded inside the court and were coming out. 
In the first were seven women, one of whom was the Mar- 
chale de Noailles. She was dressed in black, her hands were 
tied behind her. For a moment Father Carrichon thought 
that the other two, her daughter-in-law and granddaughter, 
might have been acquitted, but in the last cart to emerge 
were Louise and her mother. 

Louise was dressed in white and looked incredibly young. 
Instead of being a woman in her middle thirties, she might 
have been a girl. She was talking to her mother and was 
looking about her eagerly. Someone close at hand in the 
crowd said "Look at that young one how lively she isl See 
how she is talking to the woman next to her." 

Father Carrichon, who knew that Louise was looking for 
him, could imagine what the two women were saying: 
"Maman, he isn't here!" 

"Look again." 

"I am looking as hard as I can, mamon but he isn't herel" 

The carts passed slowly by without Louise once looking 
in Father Carrichon's direction. 

The priest went back into the Palace, hurried through it 
to a farther door and took a short cut to stand in a conspicu- 
ous spot by the entrance to the bridge which led to the right 


bank of the Seine. The crowd was denser now. Again the 
procession lumbered by without the priest's being seen, 
though still Louise was searching for hi and on her moth- 
er's face was an expression of strained anxiety. 

Father Carrichon felt infinitely weary. It was hopeless, he 
said to himself. She would never see him. The crowd was too 
great. He longed to give up, to go home but not without 
making one last attempt. 

Again he took a short cut and reached a spot in the Rue 
St. Antoine, almost opposite La Force Prison. As he hurried 
along, the sky began to darken, thunder grumbled in the 
distance. Just when he had reached his station, the storm 
broke in a wild gust of wind flashes of lightning, thunder 
claps. The rain poured down, and in an instant, the street 
was swept dean of people except for those who, like the 
priest, had taken shelter in a doorway. 

Now the carts were coming up at a quickened pace. The 
women in them were buffeted about by the storm; with their 
hands tied behind them they couldn't protect themselves. 
The old Mar6chale's bonnet was swept back from her face; 
a lock of her white hair was tossed by the wind. 

Just as the last cart drew abreast of him, Father Carrichon 
stepped out from the doorway and stood, a solitary figure in 
the downpour. Nobody could miss seeing him now. Louise 
smiled, as if to say, "At last you are here! We have waited 
so long." She spoke to her mother and Madame d'Ayen's 
sad, anxious face brightened. 

Marching boldly beside the cart and sometimes hurrying 
on ahead of it, Father Carrichon looked for a good place in 
which to carry out the really important part of his promise. 
As the procession entered the Faubourg Saint Antoine, it 
slowed at the crossing of two streets. Father Carrichon turned 
and made a sign to Louise. She and her mother bowed their 
heads as he pronounced very slowly and distinctly, and with 


what seemed to him divinely inspired conviction, the entire 
formula of Absolution. 

Almost immediately the storm was over, as though it's 
work was done, the rain died down to drizzle and then ceased 
altogether. As they moved through the Faubourg Saint An- 
toine, one of the most wretched, overpopulated slums of 
Paris, a crowd again collected and insults were shouted at 
the rain-soaked, bedraggled women in the carts. The Mar6- 
chale was the chief target; her identity was known. "Look at 
her," someone shouted. "Look at that Mar6chale, who used 
to be so grand, who used to ride in a fine coach! Now she's 
in the cart like all the restl" 

The last cart, for some reason, passed unnoticed and in it, 
the two women whom Father Carrichon had soothed and 
served, rode serenely, a look of peace and contentment on 
their uplifted faces. 

They were nearing the end of their journey. The big open 
space outside the city wall, which is now the Place de La 
Nation, was crowded. In its center, the guillotine stood on a 
raised platform. The executioner and his two assistants were 
waiting. One of them was a tall, handsome young man, who 
held between his teeth the stem of a full blown rose. 

The carts were unloaded, the prisoners drawn up in two 
long lines facing the city, with their backs to the scaffold so 
they could not see it. Again Louise searched for Father Car- 
richon in the crowd and found him. A man at his elbow 
said, "That young girl seems happy; she's looking up to 
heaven, she's praying but what good will it do her?" As if 
on afterthought, he muttered something about "rascals" and 
"bigots." Madame d'Ayen stood with her eyes closed, as if 
she were praying at the altar and offering a final act of con- 

The priest longed to go away now. He shifted his position 
and saw the old grandmother sitting on a block of stone near 
the steps that led to the scaffold; she was staring ahead of her 


with vacant eyes. The first to climb the steps was a big, burly, 
white-haired man who was said to have been a tax collector. 
The Marchale was the third victim. When it came her turn 
it was necessary to cut away the upper part of her dress to 
bare her throat. The executioner and his men worked 
quickly and quietly, without exchanging a single word. Each 
time, after the knife had fallen, the severed head and head- 
less body were thrown down into a cart. 

Madame d'Ayen was the tenth to die. The executioner 
tried to pull her cap off without drawing out the pin that 
fastened it to her hair and for a moment a grimace of pain 
distorted her features. Louise came next and suffered the 
same minor brutality. As she stood there in her white dress, 
looking so youthful and so innocent, Father Carrichon 
thought of the virgin martyrs of the early church as pictured 
by the master painters. She is in Heaven, she is happy now, 
he said piously to himself, as the abundant stream of blood 
gushed out and her body went down into the cart. 


In the Shadows 

ADRIENNE DID NOT KNOW; she could only imagine. She 
JLX could grasp the fact that her mother and grandmother 
were dead, but it seemed impossible that she would never 
see Louise again. For a long time she was absorbed by her 
grief; it seemed to put a barrier around her. Her faith in 
God stood firm, but she wondered sometimes if she were not 
going mad, for strange thoughts crossed her mind. She was 
glad that her husband and her children were not with her; 
she felt that in this deeply shadowed hour, even the sem- 
blance of human comfort would be more than she could 

Like Louise, Adrienne had prepared herself to die. When 
she felt her strength ebbing she would recite the begin- 
ning words of the Credo, "I believe in God, the Father Al- 
mighty." The only book to her hand in Le Plessis was a Latin 
psalter and, although she had never studied Latin, she was 
so familiar with the liturgy of the church that she could read 
it without too much difficulty. The psalms, with their som- 
ber beauty, their universal expression of man's sense of the 



divine, she had known intimately since childhood; many of 
them she could repeat by heart. Coining on them now in a 
new medium, she found that they had a new poignancy. 
They spoke to her of virtues she had most admired in her 
mother and sister, virtues that she coveted for herself and 
had prayed God to give her. 

Like Louise, Adrienne had set down in writing a testa- 
ment to her religious faith. "I have always lived and I hope 
with the grace of God to die in the bosom of the Catholic 
Apostolic and Roman Church," she wrote. "I declare that in 
the principles of that holy religion I have found my support, 
in its practices my consolation. I am confident that it will 
bear me up at the moment of my death. I believe in You, 
oh my God. I hope for all that You have promised. I put all 
my trust in the merits of Jesus Christ and in the price of 
His blood; I wish to liken my life to His, and I unite my 
suffering to His suffering, my death to His death. . . ." 

"With all my heart," she continued, "I pardon my en- 
emiesif I have any and my persecutors, whoever they may 
be, and even the persecutors of the one I love. I pray God 
to heap His bounty upon them and to pardon them, as I 
have pardoned them. Lord, in praying for my persecutors as 
sincerely as Your grace inspires me, You will surely not re- 
ject my prayers for the one who is so dear to me and You 
will deal with us according to the magnitude of Your mer- 

To her children, Adrienne gave her most tender blessing, 
but not to her husband not openly, at least. Even in this 
most intimate outpouring, she felt that she should protect 
him, that she should refer to Mm only as "the one I love," 
or "the one who is most dear to me." Since she had been in 
Paris, his name had never crossed her lips and she could not 
be sure who might read what she had written after she was 
gone. That God would deal with Gilbert according to the 
magnitude of His mercies she could not doubt, for she had 


never been able to believe in a hell for nonconformists. 
Those who were doing the Lord's work on this earth would 
be saved. Surely at the moment of their death God would 
enlighten them! 

In order that nothing should be lacking, however, she in- 
corporated into her testament yet another paragraph in 
which she spoke of her love for her country, her loyalty to 
it, that "no persecution, from whatever quarter it may come/' 
could shake. Again she obliquely mentioned Lafayette. In 
her feelings of patriotism, she said, she had found a model 
in "someone who is very precious to my heart." 

"Oh God, in You have I put my trust," she concluded, 
"You are all powerful and in the great day of eternity, You 
will bring us all together to praise You for evermore. In 
You, in You alone is my hope. Have pity on me, oh my Godl" 

There was nothing that she could add to these words after 
Madame de Duras' shattering announcement, except perhaps 
the thought that following in the footsteps of those she loved 
might make the end less bitter. Preoccupied, withdrawn into 
herself, Adrienne paid little attention to what went on 
around her, though, in the days immediately following her 
mother's and sister's death, her own fate and the fate of all 
in Le Plessis was being decided. 

Louise, Madame d'Ayen, and the Mar^chale had died on 
July 22nd. On the 27th, the 8th of Thennidor by the new 
calendar, a fearful sense of uneasiness spread throughout the 
prison. Something unusual had happened outside there in 
the city no one knew exactly what. The prisoners were not 
allowed to go down to the courtyard. All the wickets that at 
intervals were set in the passages and on the stairs were 
closed. Was there to be an indiscriminate massacre, as there 
had been in the early days of the Revolution? Would the 
prisoners be lined up against the walls to be shot like the 
people of Lyons after the city had fallen to the Convention? 


On the gth of Thermidor, cannon roared in the distance. 
The guards seemed frightened; they whispered excitedly to 
one another; they looked suspiciously at the prisoners and 
refused to answer questions. On the following day, the loth, 
they returned to normal and were more talkative. The news 
spread rapidly that there had been another revolution- 
minor in scope which had overthrown the dictatorship. 
Robespierre and twenty-one of his stalwart supporters had 
been executed as outlaws, without trial. The Terror was at 
an endl 

The change in atmosphere was immediate. People leaned 
out of the windows of the houses that surrounded Le Plessis 
and waved joyously to the inmates. Down in the courtyard, 
there were cheers and hand clapping because a prisoner who 
had been kept in solitary, whose very existence was unknown 
to the rest, had come out into the daylight. The same after- 
noon, a woman was set free. As she went out the gate a great 
shout of "liberty liberty" went up and was echoed from 
room to room, from floor to floor. 

During the next few weeks discipline was relaxed, visitors 
were admitted, and male prisoners, till now severely segre- 
gated, were allowed to walk in the courtyard with the women. 
Madame de Duras was shocked by the talk, the amorous do- 
ings, that went on there and offered her room as a refuge to 
some youthful Carmelite nuns, who were afraid to go down 
for their daily exercise. She felt that the doom that hung 
over her and her ilk had not been lifted. Every day people 
were going out of the prison, but as yet no nobles had been 

One day, however, as Madame de Duras was reading in 
her cell, she was surprised by a call from a lawyer who 
worked for a Paris Deputy, Citizen Legendre, a member of 
the Committee of Public Safety. He questioned her carefully 
and said that he might be able to do something for her. 
Legendre and another deputy would soon come to the prison 


to review the cases of the prisoners and to set free the ones 
whom they thought had been falsely charged. 

On October i6th, the great gate of the courtyard was 
thrown wide and the carriage of the two deputies rolled in. 
It was the first time that any vehicle had been admitted ex- 
cept the carts that had brought and taken away fodder for 
the guillotine. Two days later, Madame de Duras and Adri- 
enne were summoned to the office. 

Just as they were going in one of the deputies looked up 
from his desk and said severely to the guard, "Take the ex- 
nobles out of here! It isn't proper that they should be ques- 
tioned before the worthy sans culottes. 9 ' 

It was a bad beginning. When, after a three hour wait, 
Madame de Duras was called into the room and gave her 
maiden and married names in answer to the first question, 
the deputy bounced up and down in his chair with rage. 

"Those are terrible names!" he cried "We can't free this 
woman! Her case must be referred to the Committee." 

The other official he was the Citizen Legendre of whom 
Madame de Duras had heard was less menacing but the 
prisoner went away feeling that no good would come of the 

The next morning, while she was sweeping out her room, 
her door was pushed open. She was so attuned to disaster 
that her heart missed a beat, but it was only one of her fel- 
low prisoners. She shouted cheerfully, "You're free!" 

Until the jailer appeared with a written order for her re- 
lease, Madame de Duras refused to believe that this was any- 
thing more than a cruel joke. But there was the order in her 
hand! She swiftly made up her few belongings into two small 
bundles and went to say goodbye to Adrienne. 

For there had been no mercy shown to Adrienne. Her en- 
counter with the deputies had been even more unsatisfac- 
tory than her cousin's. She was last of all to be questioned; 
Legendre was hostile from the outset. 


"I bear a grudge against you/' he said, with cold ferocity. 
"I detest your husband, you, and your name!" 

"I will always defend my husband," Adrienne replied 
wearily, "and there's no crime in a name." 

The other deputy said that Lafayette had betrayed his 
country. Neither he nor Legendre could take the responsi- 
bility of judging her. She must send her papers to the Com- 

"Will you take them for me?" Adrienne asked. "There is 
no one else here to whom I could give them." 

The man shook his head. 

"When you were surrounded by your aides-de-camp," Le- 
gendre growled, "you sang a different tune. You were more 
insolent then!" 

Adrienne realized with dismay, that this might mean that 
she was being accused, as her mother and Louise had been 
accused, of taking part in a conspiracy. That evening she 
wrote a hurried letter, full of blots and erasures, asking the 
American Minister to France to take her papers, such as they 
were, to the Committee of Public Safety. 

It was not the first letter she had sent out into the world. 
Numbed though she was, Adrienne had taken immediate 
advantage of the opportunities to communicate that devel- 
oped after the xoth of Thermidor, when each outgoing pris- 
oner was laden with messages to friends and relatives of those 
who were left behind in Le Plessis. Adrienne had written 
twice to the Minister and had given the letters to Monsieur 
Grelet, who had come to see her and Madame de Duras, 
bringing Alexis and Alfred de Noailles with him. Grelet was 
about to take the boys and Euph&nie to their aunt, Rosalie 
de Grammont in Franche Comt6, but Adrienne had thought 
to interest the Minister in her sister's motherless children, 
whose father, Louis de Noailles, had fought for America. 
Her petitions were addressed not to Gouverneur Morris but 
to his successor in office, Mr. James Monroe, who, the papers 


announced, had arrived in Paris shortly after the death of 

Morris, unpopular though he was with the Jacobins, had 
served Adrienne well. When Frestel had gone to see him at 
Melun in June and told him of her danger, he wrote forcibly 
to the French Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, saying how 
badly any action against the wife of Lafayette would be 
viewed in the United States. This letter, no doubt, had saved 
Adrienne's life. The French Republic, with all of Europe 
against it, did not want to offend its only ally, feeble and dis- 
tant though that ally was. During the weeks that she had 
been in La Petite Force and Le Plessis, Adrienne's dossier 
may have come often to the top of the pile on the public 
prosecutor's desk, but if so, it had always been put back again 
at the bottom. 

This she did not know, however, nor did she know that 
Monroe had been enthusiastically and fraternally received by 
the Convention and was in a far better position to help her 
than Morris. Being so newly arrived, he felt that he must 
move delicately, but through Grelet, he had assured her that 
he would work unofficially for her freedom and that he was 
ready to go much farther than that if any serious move was 

Adrienne did not have to wait long for a reply to her latest 
appeal. A secretary came to take her papers to the Committee 
and, a few weeks later, on October 27th, 1794, she was re- 
moved from Le Plessis to a prison infirmary in the Rue des 

Her new place of enforced residence was a small one 
where the inmates were somewhat better fed and lodged than 
in Le Plessis. Adrienne found herself the only woman among 
twenty men, all of whom were French Creoles from the West 
Indies. They had heard of La Belle Gabrielle Plantation at 


Cayenne and at first, like the aristocrats at Brioude, they 
showed her great ill will because of the stand she and Lafa- 
yette had taken against Negro slavery. 

Again, as with the aristocrats, Adiienne won them over 
by refusing to take offense and by meeting them on the 
ground of their common humanity and their common mis- 
fortune. All of these slave holders came to respect and admire 
her, as did also the inmates of another House of Detention 
the Maison Delmas, in the Rue Notre Dame des Champs to 
which she was transferred eight days later. There, her com- 
panions were members of the group which was responsible 
for the terrorist regime. Even with them she was able to live 
at peace. 

One day the jailer told her that there were two people, a 
man and woman, asking for her at the outer gate of the 
prison. She hurried downstairs and, in her eagerness, ran 
across the courtyard to the gate. Beyond it stood a short, 
erect, slender man who was James Monroe; with him was a 
dark-haired, beautiful young woman, his wife Elizabeth. In 
the background, a crowd had collected about a handsome 
carriage. Carriages were very rare now in Paris. Only officials 
were able to use them and the fact that the American Min- 
ister had come to call on a prisoner in such state was causing 
just the sensation that Monroe had planned. 

Adrienne had not seen an American since the days when 
there were weekly American dinners at the house in the Rue 
de Bourbon. She had never met Monroe, but she knew that 
he had been her husband's friend and comrade-in-arms at 
the Battle of Brandywine. Her English, never as fluent as 
her husband's, was in bad repair but she was able to exchange 
a few words with these friendly people who, with their well- 
kept clothes and smart equipage, seemed to have stepped out 
of a remote, an almost forgotten past. 

Monroe gave her to understand that her release waSr cer- 
tain and not far off, he hoped. When she was free, she and 


her family would need help and he suggested that she should 
draw up a list of the things that her American friends might 
do for her. 

"If I should obtain my liberty/' Adrienne wrote it was 
still an "if;" she was still a prisoner and could not take it for 
granted that she would survive "I make with confidence the 
following requests . . ." First, she would ask America to care 
for the future of her son, George Washington Lafayette, who, 
as his father's heir, shared his father's American citizenship. 
George, she hoped, might go to America and finish his edu- 
cation in the United States. She would like him to have some 
sort of business training, or she would like him to enter the 
American navy. Secondly, she asked her American friends to 
take charge of her will and a letter to be given to George in 
case of her death. 

Since she was penniless now, there were certain financial 
obligations that she was unable to meet and that she hoped 
might be taken care of by the American government. Adri- 
enne had learned how wretchedly things had been going at 
Chavaniac. The family had at times been dependent for food 
and fuel on what their neighbors in the village had brought. 
They were living now on sufferance in the chateau, which 
had been sold over their heads. At the sale of the house fur- 
nishings, Madame de Chavaniac was able to buy her bed and 
a few necessities, but had had to part with everything else, 
including the picture of her beloved brother, Lafayette's 

Adrienne, therefore, asked that the interest on the promis- 
sory note that Lafayette had given to his aunt in 1785 and 
which had caused Adrienne so much concern, so many weary 
journeys to Le Puy, should be paid. There were also pensions 
she wished to give various dependents: to her mother's el- 
derly governess, who was here in Paris; to Mademoiselle 
Marin, her daughters' governess, who had shared all their 
hardships at Chavaniac. 


There were others to whom Adrienne felt that she owed 
an infinite debt the Beauchets; her personal maid, Made- 
moiselle Benjamin, who had insisted on lending her her sav- 
ings; Mercier, the butler, who had found another place, but 
who some day might come to want. And there was F61ix 
Frestel; Frestel had left a little library behind him in Paris 
that had been impounded with the Lafayette belongings in 
the Hotel de Lafayette. If the books could not be returned 
to him, Adrienne felt that he should be reimbursed. She also 
remembered two other of the men servants at Chavaniac and 
the coachman, Pontonnier, whose son, F61ix, had chosen to 
share Lafayette's prison in Germany. 

As the list lengthened, Adrienne's fingers grew numb, for 
the weather had become very cold. The winter of 1794-1795 
was to be remembered as one of the worst that Paris had ever 
known, only to be compared with the winter of 1788 just 
before the Revolution. Adrienne had always craved warmth 
and suffered severely. The water in her room was always 
frozen. The dining room in which she and her housemates 
ate was without heat of any sort. 

She found unexpected comfort, however, in talking to a 
carpenter who came to make repairs to the Maison Delmas. 
The carpenter was Father Carrichon. He had exchanged his 
disguise of a red waistcoat and a blue coat for a workman's 
apron and in this way was earning his living. Adrienne could 
speak to him of her mother and sister and hear what he had 
to tell with horror, it was true, but with a welcome release 
of emotion. She made to Father Carrichon a general Confes- 
sion, one that covered her entire life and this return to the 
past drew her mind away from the dreary present. 

Meanwhile not only Monroe but other friends were trying 
to break the deadlock that held her a prisoner. Madame 
Beauchet, who had come daily to the prison to ask for Adri- 
enne, even when this meant personal risk, was working on 
the sympathies of a clerk she knew in the Committee of Gen- 


eral Safety. He always put her off by vague promises, but at 
least she learned from him that all the members of the Com- 
mittee had come around to a favorable view of Adrienne's 
case all except her declared enemy, Citizen Legendre. 

One day in January, Madame de Duras, who had also 
been tormented by the cold and was living in an unheated 
attic, went to see Legendre very early in the morning before 
he had finished dressing to go to his office. She reminded him 
that, though she was an aristocrat, he had let her go, saying 
that she had suffered more than she deserved. Surely her 
cousin, Madame Lafayette, could make the same claim. 

Whether it was this argument, or the early hour, or the 
sheer weight of Madame de Duras' impressive personality, 
Legendre promised to do what she asked, and on the 22nd 
of January, 1795, put his signature to Adrienne's release. 


January, 1795 November, 1795 


Mrs. Motier 

PARIS WAS ICEBOUND, the Seine was frozen over, and in all 
the city there was no place that Adrienne could call 
home. The two great houses where she had lived, the Hotel 
de Noailles and the Hotel de Lafayette, stood vacant, their 
doors and courtyards sealed, their windows shuttered. To 
neither had she any legal claim, and except for Madame de 
Duras, shivering in her garret, none of her large family con- 
nection was in Paris. Those who were not dead were widely 
scattered. But an aunt a very youthful aunt, a half sister of 
Adrienne's mother who had married a friend of Lafayette, 
the Vicomte de S6gur, was living with her husband and chil- 
dren at Chatenay, on the city's outskirts. To Chatenay Adri- 
enne went directly from the house in the Rue Notre Dame 
des Champs. 

She was tenderly welcomed by her relatives and, after 
months of sorrow, loneliness, and discomfort, she was warmed 
in body and spirit. The feeling of deadness, of futility, that 
had oppressed her gradually receded. 

The S6gur household was a busy one. The children worked 



indoors and, weather permitting, -worked in the garden. The 
Vicomte, a clever man who could turn his hand to anything, 
was earning a small income by writing skits for the Paris 
theaters. Adrienne's aunt, only a few years older than she, 
was gentle and beautiful. She had the same soothing quality 
that had made Louise de Noailles so universally beloved. 

Her oldest daughter, Laure, was the same age as Adrienne's 
Anastasie and the two girls had been prepared for their First 
Communion together. Sixteen-year-old Laure was now going 
through a period of great religious excitement and uncer- 
tainty that reminded Adrienne of her own adolescent suffer- 
ings in the early days of her marriage. She talked with Laure 
about her troubles and gave her advice drawn from her own 
experience, the substance being that faith was a gift from 
God and that in God's good time the gift would come. The 
feeling that she was being useful to someone for Laure re- 
sponded to her spiritual therapy gave Adrienne the energy 
she needed to attack her own difficult practical problems. 

There was only one problem really, but it had many con- 
tingencies. It was the same problem that she had been un- 
able to solve, that she had had to lay aside when death hung 
over her the problem of how to reach her husband. While 
Adrienne was in Brioude and in Paris, a whole new chapter- 
she knew it only in outline had been added to the saga of 
Lafayette's imprisonment. 

The last letter she had received from Gilbert was written 
in October of the preceding year and reached her while she 
was in the Brioude House of Detention. It gave an account 
of improved health and its tone was cheerful. For this there 
was a reason that could not be given openly in a letter to be 
scanned and passed upon by the Commandant of Magde- 

Lafayette had at last been able to get in touch with the 
outside world. The American money that Gouverneur Mor- 
ris had deposited to Lafayette's account was used not only 


for food but for financing a secret, uncensored correspond- 
ence with friends in Hamburg and London, where many 
French Constitutionalists had fled after the Jacobins took 
over in August of 1792. The letters were written with a 
toothpick for a pen and with soot mixed with vinegar for 
ink on blank pages torn from books. Lafayette's valet, Cha- 
vaniac, who was allowed to spend an hour each day in the 
prisoner's cell, bribed one of the garrison soldiers to take the 
letters into the town where a resident American sent them 
on their way. 

In London, the leader of the movement to free Lafayette 
was his cousin, the Princesse d'H&iin. She was one of the 
intellectual ladies who had fluttered about Lafayette in the 
early, pre-Revolutionary phase of his career; some had even 
said that she was a rival to Madame de Simiane. 

Madame d'H&iin worked for Lafayette with Thomas 
Pinckney and others of the Franco-American community in 
Britain. Conferences were held with the Prussian and Au- 
strian Ministers, appeals were made to the Prussian King, 
and Lafayette's letters, as they now came through, were cop- 
ied and sent far and wide, some to America. The Whig op- 
position in Parliament was inspired to make speeches in 
Lafayette's behalf in the House of Commons and motions 
were brought, all of which were defeated by the Tories, for 
the English to intervene. 

On the other hand, much of Lafayette's correspondence 
with Hamburg was concerned with an escape plot that for 
months kept his hopes and spirits at a high level. They fell 
to zero when the plot collapsed and he was transferred to 
another Prussian prison at Neisse in Silesia. Lafayette was 
again very ill and thought he might be dying. He wrote a 
letter of farewell to the Princesse d'H&iin and asked her to 
communicate with Adrienne, his children, and his aunt. 

Before long he faced a new removal that swept him still 
deeper into enemy territory. After four months at Neisse, 


from January to May of 1794, Lafayette and the two friends 
who had been with him at Magdebourg, C6sar de la Tour 
Maubourg and Xavier Bureau de Pusy, were handed over 
by the Prussians to Austria and were carried across the fron- 
tier. Nothing more was heard from them; for months even 
their whereabouts were unknown. 

Then, in November, two young men a German, Dr. Jus- 
tus Erich Bollmann and an American, Francis Huger of 
South Carolina had made a daring attempt to rescue Lafa- 
yette from his prison and came within an ace of succeeding. 
Failure though it was, this exploit advertised the fact that 
Lafayette, de Maubourg, and de Pusy were at Olmiitz in 
Moravia, a three days' journey to the east of Vienna, near the 
foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. A much longer faring 
lay ahead of Adrienne than she had imagined and tried to 
encompass two years ago. 

Adrienne's first move was to go to call on the Monroes and 
to thank them for their services. She told Monroe what she 
intended; to go to Vienna and beg the Austrian Emperor for 
permission to live with Lafayette in the prison of Olmiitz. 
She would take her daughters with her, but she felt she could 
neither take George into Austria nor leave him behind in 
France. She wanted him to go with Frestel to America to 
live under the protection of his namesake, President Wash- 

Monroe promised to cooperate in getting her passports 
and told her that the United States would stand behind her 
financially. A year ago, in March, 1794, Congress had appro- 
priated $34,000 dollars in back pay for Lafayette, who in 
the past had refused to accept any return for his services as 
a Major General in the American army. There was also some 
money, untouched as yet, that Washington had sent as a per- 
sonal gift. That alone would more than cover traveling ex- 


Before she left prison, Adrienne had written to George 
and Frestel to come to Paris. They arrived within a week 
after she had gone to stay with the de Sgurs. She did not 
want to meet them there, for she was afraid that that might 
bring trouble to the family that sheltered her. She made a 
rendezvous with them at the house of two elderly spinsters 
nearby at Chilly, where an old friend, a Dominican priest, 
had been hiding all during the Terror. 

Her meeting with George was ecstatic. "I never thought 
I could feel such happiness again," she cried as she kissed 
him and held him close. Other joys might come, but this, 
the first, had proved that she could meet them more than 

George had changed very much in the months since she 
had said goodbye to him in the jail at Brioude at the mo- 
ment of her departure for Paris. He was fifteen now; he was 
as tall as she was. He had become just the sort of boy that 
she had always wanted him to be. He didn't want to go to 
America there was none of the spark of adventure in the 
undertaking that had lured his father across the ocean but 
he was willing to shoulder his share of the family burdens. 

Frestel also offered to fall in with Adrienne's plans, though 
she knew he would have much preferred to go back to his 
family in Normandy. She made it plain that it was not 
George's safety of which she was primarily thinking. In the 
United States they would have a mission. Just as she once 
had tried to send them to Thomas Pinckney in London, she 
was sending them now to persuade George's godfather to take 
a definite step towards freeing Lafayette. 

For the passports, Adrienne could not rely entirely on her 
American friends. The Vicomte de S6gur introduced her to 
an influential member of the new Committee of Public 
Safety, Boissy d'Anglas, who had led the movement to over- 
throw Robespierre and was anxious to set right all that 
Robespierre had set wrong. Boissy d' Anglas made out a pass- 


port for George under the family name of Motier, which was 
little known in France, and got his colleagues to sign it with- 
out telling them for whom it was intended. 

An American businessman in Paris, James Russell, offered 
to take George with him to Le Havre and put him on board 
a little vessel bound for Boston. No one on the ship would 
know the passenger's true name. In Boston, George would 
go to stay with Mr. Russell's father until Frestel arrived by 
another ship. When Frestel was there, they would commu- 
nicate with President Washington, go to Philadelphia, and 
deliver a letter from Adrienne. 

"Monsieur, I send you my son," she wrote. "Although I 
have not had the consolation of being listened to, nor getting 
from you the help that I thought most likely to deliver his 
father from the hands of our enemies still, it is with deep, 
sincere and undimished confidence that I put my dear child 
under the protection of the United States. He has long 
looked upon it as his second country. . . ." 

Her wish for George, she said, was that he should lead a 
very secluded life in America, that he should resume his 
education, so interrupted during the past three years, and fit 
himself to become a good American citizen. 

Adrienne was moved to speak feelingly of Frestel. "The 
one who will give you this letter, Monsieur, has been our 
support, our protector, our comfort, and my son's guide 
since our misfortunes. I hope that . . . they will never be 
separated and that some day we will all be reunited in the 
land of liberty. It is to this generous friend that my children 
owe the saving of their mother's life. ... He will tell you 
that I have given no cause for accusation, no reason for re- 
proach from my country The supreme sacrifice that this 

friend has made is leaving a family of his own that he dearly 
loves. I ardently wish Monsieur Washington to know what 
he is and how much we are indebted to him. . . . 

"I will say nothing now of my own situation, nor of that 


of the one that interests me even more than my own. I rely 
upon the bearer of this letter to interpret the feelings of my 
heart. . . ." 

After the letter had been written and the passports were 
in order, Adrienne said goodbye to George an ordeal for 
her, an even greater ordeal for the boy who had to go so far 
away among strangers and whose exile would begin with a 
long sea voyage without even the comfort of Frestel's com- 

Adrienne was so afraid that at the last moment she might 
not be able to part with her son that before George's ship 
had left Le Havre she had taken the second step towards her 
goal of Olmutz she was on her way to Auvergne. 

The long, hard winter was over and it was again spring- 
time as she followed the familiar route south. The fields, the 
forest, even the towns, showed little sign of the guerrilla 
battles that had been fought, the fearful toll in lives that the 
last few years had taken. Again, almost at the end of her 
journey, Adrienne came to Vaire, the posting stop where 
was it only four years ago? she had met Pauline de Mon- 
tagu. In the same shabby little inn where Pauline had hidden 
herself, she found Anastasie and Virginie. She had told them 
that she was coming. They couldn't wait to see her and had 
rushed to Vaire. They were hysterical with joy and excite- 

Last summer they had expected everyday to hear that their 
mother was dead and they had never known when they 
might be separated from one another. They had been told 
cruelly that Aunt Chavaniac and Anastasie might be 
taken to the House of Detention at Brioude and that George 
and Virginie would go to an orphan asylum. But now their 
mother was here, only a little changed, a little pale and worn 
after her long ordeal. She promised that she would not leave 


them again. Wherever she went they would go with her. 

It was Saturday when Adrienne arrived. In a few remote 
places church services were being resumed and she heard 
that Mass would be celebrated the following day in a small 
village, Montout, three miles up in the hills from Vaire. 
Adrienne, Anastasie, and Virginie climbed the steep way to 
the little church. They knelt together to say prayers of 
thanksgiving and to witness again the solemn mystery of the 
Mass performed by a robed priest. 

Then on to Chavaniac. Adrienne had allotted herself only 
a week at the chateau, most of which would be devoted to 
business. With the money that Monroe had given her, she 
could make payments to her creditors; she could give a sub- 
stantial sum to Madame de Chavaniac. When the week was 
up, it took all of Adrienne's resolution to say goodbye to the 
old woman and to leave her alone in the dismantled house, 
brooding on the sorrows of the past and present; on Gilbert, 
who was a prisoner in Austria; on George, who was a wan- 
derer to the uttermost ends of the earth. Adrienne and the 
girls Madame de Chavaniac loved them too were going 
very far away. Would she live to see any of them return? 

On a May morning, depressed by a leave-taking that 
seemed so final, Adrienne, Anastasie, and Virginie set off for 
Paris in a rickety postchaise that could be sold for a song or 
abandoned at the end of their journey. They had only got 
as far as Brioude when they met two wayfarers coming to- 
ward them on foot, a man and a tiny woman, her odd little 
face, with its slits of eyes, bronzed by the sun. It took a mo- 
ment to realize that this was Rosalie de Grammont and her 
husband, Theodule. They had been for weeks on the road, 
trudging all the way from Tranche Comt6 to Paris to see Adri- 
enne and, not finding her there, farther still to Auvergne. 

This youngest of the daughters of the Duchesse d'Ayen 
had been the most difficult to manage and to settle in life. 
Rosalie was stubborn and she was not as comely as her sisters. 


She was not married until she was an "old maid" of twenty- 
one, having herself refused several offers made to her parents. 
She only accepted her present husband after prayer and 
saying that she didn't believe that true happiness could be 
found upon this earth. In spite of this bleak prelude, the 
marriage had been amazingly successful and harmonious. 

The de Grammonts had walked their long road because 
they had no money to spend on traveling post and were 
afraid of the company they might meet in public convey- 
ances. They were not as indigent, however, as they seemed. 
Rosalie, who had urged Pauline to take her diamonds with 
her to England, had some of her own marriage jewelry con- 
cealed on her meager person. She wanted to give it to Adri- 
enne. She wanted also to lament with her their common loss. 

It was impossible to part after a brief roadside talk. The 
de Grammonts turned about and the whole party went on 
slowly towards Clermont, taking turns walking and riding 
in the chaise. At Clermont they read news in the papers that 
halted them for three weeks. 

There had been new disorders in Paris, a final effort of the 
Jacobins to regain control of the government. Again the 
Assembly hall was invaded by an armed mob and one of the 
deputies was killed. That day, May 20th, Boissy d'Anglas, 
the de Sgurs* friend who had got the passport for George, 
was presiding. He respectfully saluted the bleeding head of 
his colleague that was held up to him and, though pikes were 
at his breast, refused to put the motions that the mob de- 
manded. For a few hours the Jacobins were again in control 
until the hall was cleared at bayonet point. There followed 
a mopping up period when the insurgents were brutally 
liquidated and the Faubourg St. Antoine, the cradle of Paris 
mobs, was stripped of all arms by government troops. 

When word reached Clermont that order had been re- 
stored in the capital, the Lafayettes started again for the 
north. Adrienne had used her three weeks in Clermont in 


preparing her little Virginie, who was now twelve, for her 
First Communion. The de Grammonts went on, as they had 
intended, to Chavaniac. Adrienne did not need Rosalie's 
diamonds for herself, but there was another use to which 
they could be put With them and the money Adrienne had 
given her, Aunt Chavaniac might be able to buy back the 
chateau or at least to make the first down payment on the 
purchase. This would give the lonely soul a motive to sur- 
vive, a look into the future. 

When she reached Paris, Adrienne found that Boissy 
d'Anglas was the hero of the hour and that this would be a 
help to her in getting a passport. While Monsieur de Sgur 
conferred with the Deputy, Adrienne was forced to give all 
her attention to legal and business matters. 

It seemed as if she might some day have some property in 
her own right. A law had been passed which recognized in- 
heritance from those who had been condemned to death 
during the Terror. The Duchesse d'Ayen had owned several 
estates, one in the Pas de Calais, two in Brie at Fontenay 
and La Grange-Bteneau, about thirty miles from Paris. Adri- 
enne registered a claim for herself and her joint heirs and 
went to Fontenay and La Grange. She and the girls moved 
into the empty manor house at Fontenay, which was the 
nearer to the capital of the two estates. 

There were many errands that took her to Paris in the 
ensuing weeks. The Duchess had left a will, with many 
charitable bequests, and Adrienne had to find that is, bor- 
rowthe money with which to meet them. There was also 
some work to be done for Aunt Chavaniac, who had gladly 
accepted the de Grammonts' loan and had bought bade the 
chateau from its recent owners. 

To economize, Adrienne made her frequent trips from 
Fontenay to the city on foot. She was stronger now and felt 
equal to any exertion. Along the way, doors of churches stood 
open. She would slip in out of the hot summer sun and sink 


down to rest. Though worship was no longer forbidden, the 
churches were, for the most part, empty. There in the dark 
and quiet, Adrienne said prayers for her dead and sometimes 
found relief in weeping for her mother and sister. 

But however much else she had to do, her chief aim in go- 
ing to Paris was to find out if her passport was ready. She 
was prepared to leave on an hour's notice. At last she was 
told that the Committee of Public Safety could not give her 
a passport for Germany and Austria but they could for Amer- 
ica. Her American friends suggested that she should leave on 
a vessel that was America bound, but which would be going 
first to a German port, Hamburg. There the United States 
Consul would issue a traveling permit valid for travel to 
Austria to "Mrs. Motier of Hartford, Connecticut," one of 
the states of the union in which Lafayette had been natural- 

Adrienne was well-satisfied with this arrangement. On 
September 8th, the future Mrs. Motier and her daughters, 
Anastasia and Virginia, found themselves on board a tiny 
ship, The Little Cherub, out of Boston, lying in the harbor 
of Dunkirk. The night preceding, they had slept at the house 
of the American consul. Adrienne was writing a letter to 
Gilbert to send on ahead of her to Olmiitz: 

"So I am free, my dearest, since here I am on the road that 
brings me closer to you. The excess of my joy is such that I 
cannot describe it except by saying that I reproach myself 
for being still capable of having such a strong feeling after 
our misfortunes. They will poison the rest of my life, but I 
feel that the One who could snuff out my life has spared me 
so that I might find you again. This hope revived me, almost 
at the foot of the scaffold. ... It has seemed to me and the 
experiences of our three years of captivity come to the sup- 
port of what I think that the only one to serve you properly 
is the one who is yours alone . . ." 


On September gth, The Little Cherub lifted its anchor 
and, beaten and tossed about by unfavorable winds, took 
eight days to round the bulging coast of Holland and to come 
to Hamburg. There Adrienne's arrival was being eagerly 
awaited by Pauline de Montagu. 


A Nest of Exiles 

KULINE BE MONTAGU in the past four years had led a 
agrant life. She had had much to contend with. After 
the death of her child, Noemi, the disastrous Rhineland cam- 
paign, and the flight into Hollandduring which she had a 
brief glimpse of Lafayette's prison Pauline, her husband, 
Joachim, and her father-in-law, the Vicomte de Beaune, re- 
turned to England. 

For a time they lived in a cottage at Richmond, where the 
Vicomte complained continually of the weather it was for- 
ever raining and insisted on reading frivolous novels aloud, 
which serious-minded Pauline found hard to bear. The old 
gentleman was extravagant also and must have his valet, 
come what may. Pauline struggled to do the housekeeping 
and marketing, but in the old days she had never entered a 
shop and she couldn't remember which sold meat and which 
vegetables. When she asked Joachim, he couldn't help her. 

It was lack of money that sent the family, now augmented 
by a baby boy who had come to replace the dead Noemi, back 
to the Continent. By that time, August of 1793, all of 



Pauline's diamonds had been sold, hither and yon, and al- 
ways at a loss; even a pair of gold-handled embroidery scis- 
sors had disappeared from her sewing basket. 

In Brussels, Joachim went briefly into the secondhand 
clothing business with a rascally partner and then the 
money was gone. Pauline's poor little baby died. In their 
distress, the parents didn't know where to turn. At this 
moment, a letter arrived from Switzerland, from Pauline's 
aunt, the Comtesse de Tess6, a sister of the Due d'Ayen, 
asking her to come for a visit. Madame de Tess had also 
sent her niece a handsome gold snuff box to pay for the 

It seemed hard to part Joachim had not been included in 
the invitation but the de Montagus decided that Pauline 
should go to her aunt at Lowemberg and Joachim and his 
father would go to Constance, where some relatives of 
Joachim's mother would welcome them. 

At Lowemberg, Pauline was far from happy. The Comtesse 
de Tess was one of the eccentrics of the Noailles family. 
Very pretty as a young woman, she had lost her good looks 
after an attack of smallpox. This was a good thing, she stoutly 
declared, because it had forced her to sharpen her wits and 
develop her mind. Her face was deeply pitted; she had a 
ridiculous habit, nervous in origin, of making faces as she 

And she was a mighty talker. Before the Revolution, only 
the most advanced ideas had been discussed in her Paris 
salon. Madame de Tess6 had a taste for metaphysics; she 
was a free thinker and an agnostic, a former friend and 
disciple of Voltaire. This did not prevent her, however, from 
making the sign of the cross whenever she took a dose of 

In action, Madame de Tessd had proved to be more canny 
than the rest of her family. When she emigrated from France, 
she took with her a considerable sum of money and many 


portable valuables, such as the gold snuff box. Instead of con- 
suming her hoard, bit by bit, she bought a dairy farm in 
Switzerland which produced enough food to feed herself and 
the large number of unfortunates she had taken under her 

One of her guests was the Marquis de Mun, an old ad- 
mirer, a dashing cavalier in his day, whose chief function 
now was to talk wittily and sometimes profoundly and 
philosophically with his hostess. Pauline was distressed and 
bewildered by the daring opinions that were tossed back 
and forth in Madame de Tessas drawing room. She would sit, 
quietly sewing in one corner of the salon, and take as little 
part in the conversation as her elderly uncle, the Comte de 
Tess6, who long ago had given up trying to compete with his 
wife on an intellectual plane. Pauline tried to make herself 
useful, but except for her skill with the needle she was feck- 
less, and when given the task of weeding and watering the 
vegetable garden raised a fine crop of thistles. 

When summer came, Pauline wanted to see her father, the 
Duke, who was also in Switzerland in the Canton of Vaud, 
not far from Lauzanne. She set out on July *6th, squired by 
another of Madame de Tessas proteges, the son of the 
Marquis de Mun. This gay young man liked to tease Pauline, 
whose sense of humor was not robust, but today he tried to 
amuse her by stopping to pick her a bunch of flowers in the 
forest and singing her a burlesque ditty which he made up 
as they drove along. But Pauline, though she tried to show 
her appreciation, was sad. She had heard recently of the death 
of the Due and Duchesse de Mouchy and had a premonition 
that this meeting with her father would be soirowful. 

Early on the second day of their journey, they saw a two- 
wheeled trap coming towards them, in it an elderly man 
holding a large green umbrella over his head to shade him 
from the sun. Pauline did not recognize her father immedi- 
ately. The Duke had aged; on his face was a tragic look. 


When the carriages were abreast, he called out to ask if she 
had heard any news. 

News what news? Pauline was so frightened that she 
leaped impulsively out of the carriage and ran towards her 
father. He helped her into the trap and told young de Mun 
to turn around and drive back to the inn where they had 
spent the night. He and Pauline would follow. 

While they were on the road the Duke was silent. He asked 
Pauline not to question him until they were alone. When 
they were closeted in a room at the inn, he told her first of 
her grandmother's death, then of her mother's and her sis- 
ter's. The news of what had happened only five days earlier 
at the Barrifere du Tr6ne in Paris had traveled fast to 

Pauline had begun to tremble even before he began his 
recital. She flung herself into his arms and wept on his shoul- 
der. She had always stood in awe of him, she and her 
sisters having realized, with no word spoken, that, though 
he respected their mother, he did not love her and there 
had never been any question of where their loyalty lay. 

Never had he been so tender as now. Though he was not 
a religious man, he wept too as Pauline recited The Mag- 
nificat, her mother's favorite portion of the liturgy in time 
of stress and fell on her knees to repeat the prayers for the 

When she was a little more calm, she said that she was 
ready to go with him to Lausanne, but he thought it better 
to take her back to Lowemberg. There Madame de Tess6, 
forewarned by de Mun, fell on her knees before her niece, 
with arms spread wide to enfold her. All the household 
showed their compassion by treating Pauline as if she were 
an invalid, her aunt tiptoeing to her door in the morning 
to see how she had passed the night. Joachim came hurrying 
from Constance to comfort her. Masses were said for the 
Noailles martyrs at Fribourg and in the cathedral at Con- 


stance, where Joachim took his wife for a long visit with 
his relatives. 

While Pauline was gone, Madame de Tess was being 
persecuted by a Swiss banker, who in the past had lent the 
Mar&hale de Noailles some money. Not content to register 
a claim on the dead woman's estate, he tried to collect it 
from her daughter. If the debt had been small, Madame de 
Tess would have paid it, but the sum was so large that to 
do so would mean ruin to her and all who lived on her 
bounty. The banker threatened court action and Madame de 
Tess was sure that the canton, which had shown marked 
hostility to &nigrs, would decide against her. Ever practical, 
she resolved to sell her farm, shake the dust of Switzerland 
from her feet, and go to Germany. 

On the ist of January, 1795, the farm having been sold 
and the proceeds safely deposited with a bank in Hamburg, 
Madame de Tess6 left Lowemberg with her flock. Making 
leisurely stops at Erfurt, Nuremberg, and Ulm, they came to 
rest at Altona, just across the river from Hamburg. There 
Madame de Tess6 rented a house while she looked about her 
for a farm in the neighborhood. She would not be hurried 
in her choice; for one thing, the new property must have a 
large enough dwelling on it to accommodate all her non- 
paying guests. 

At Altona, the same sort of life was followed as at Lowem- 
berg, a large part of every day being given up to cards, intel- 
lectual readings aloud, and endless, scintillant conversation. 
Pauline registered her usual silent protest and would slip off 
frequently by herself to Mass in the one small chapel that 
existed in this Protestant town. She spent much time in visit- 
ing 6migrs even poorer than she and in making dothes for 
them. She was at work on a large wool afghan for a needy 
priest, the exiled Bishop of Clermont, when she heard that 
Adrienne was coming to Hamburg with her daughters. The 


news came indirectly via the Princesse d'H&iin, Lafayette's 
cousin in London. 

The day that the letter arrived, Pauline's knitting was laid 
aside. She was too nervous, too excited, to sit still. She had 
heard, of course, of Adrienne's imprisonment and release. 
She herself had written to Adrienne from Erfurt, warning 
her that if she left France she should be careful in her deal- 
ings with French people she might meet, for, since the Ter- 
ror, the emigrant aristocrats felt still more bitterly towards 

Pauline had thought that Adrienne might be planning to 
come to Switzerland but here she was on her way to Ham- 
burg. Why? Was she escaping from a fresh wave of horror at 

The bond that united the daughters of the Duchesse 
d'Ayen, the bond that had set Rosalie de Grammont tramp- 
ing from Franche Comt6 to Auvergne, was strong, and 
Pauline longed to see her sister whom she looked up to and 
admired for the qualities she felt lacking in herself; Adrienne 
was so brave, so capable, so resolute in action. 

At the same time Pauline dreaded the encounter. What 
things they would have to say to one another! Before she left 
Switzerland, Pauline had had another visit from her father. 
From something that he said, she suspected that he was stay- 
ing in Switzerland because he expected to be married again, 
to a Countess Golovkin, whom Pauline had met in the course 
of her wanderings, but whom she barely knew. The knowl- 
edge that their mother was to be replaced so soon would 
make the meeting with Adrienne still more heartbreaking. 

The next day, September 1761, Pauline forced herself to 
take up her knitting, but again the afghan dropped from her 
fingers as she heard the firing of a cannon, the signal that a 
foreign ship had entered the harbor of Altona. This was not 
unusual, but Pauline had another of her strong presenti- 
ments; she was sure that Adrienne was on board. She was just 


about to rush out of the house and down to the waterfront 
when Madame de Tess stopped her in the hall and tried to 
persuade her not to wear herself out unnecessarily. They 
were still arguing when Adrienne, Anastasie, and Virginie 
walked into the house. 

One look at Adrienne told Pauline that, though her sister 
had suffered, she had not been broken by her sufferings. 
She had the old look that Pauline had always thought of as 
heroic, a look of calm self-possession, of intrepidity. After 
the first embraces, Madame de Tess6 tactfully took her two 
young nieces by the hand and led them away so that the two 
sisters could be alone. For a long time they stood looking at 
one another, unable to speak. 

Pauline broke the silence. "Did you see them?" she asked, 
her breath catching in a sob. 

"No," Adrienne said gravely, "I did not have that happi- 
ness." As Pauline clung to her, she told a little of what she 
had heard from Grelet and Father Carrichon. 

They couldn't remain alone too long with their sorrow, 
so intimately shared; they both knew that the others were 
waiting impatiently to question Adrienne. The talk that 
afternoon in the salon was not of metaphysics. Adrienne re- 
tailed all that had happened to her in the past four years, in 
Auvergne and in Paris, all that she knew of the conditions 
that existed in the mother country, where a new constitution 
had been adopted and a new form of government, consisting 
of a legislative body and an executive board of five directors, 
had been instituted. When the question was asked of why 
she had come to Hamburg, Adrienne replied almost casually, 
as if it was a matter of course, that she was on her way to 
Olmiitz to live with her husband. 

Madame de Tess and Monsieur de Mun protested loudly 
and eloquently. She might never reach Olmiitz, even if she 
reached Vienna all sorts of obstacles would face her there. 
Hadn't she had enough of brutal jailers and stinking, ver- 


minous cells? She shouldn't expose herself again or her 
daughters to the hardships of prison life. 

Adrienne put aside their arguments gently. She didn't 
stand in awe of her aunt, or her aunt's elderly gigolo. What 
they said showed their affection for her, and no lack of con- 
sideration for Lafayette. On the contrary, Lafayette was their 
political hero; Madame de Tess6 had been one of his most 
ardent admirers from the very outset of his career. 

Adrienne said that she had foreseen that there would be 
difficulties, but she thought they could be overcome. While 
she was talking, Pauline sat close beside her sister on the 
sofa, looking up at her admiringly and every once in a while 
putting an arm out to hug her sister close. She would treas- 
ure every word that Adrienne said against the time when 
Adrienne was gone all too soon. 

Adrienne had warned her that her stay at her aunt's 
house would be only long enough to make preparations for 
the trip to Austria. She did not try to get in touch with the 
many friends of Lafayette in Hamburg who had tried to 
rescue him while he was in Magdebourg, but from the Amer- 
ican Consul, Mr. John Parish, whom she went to see immedi- 
ately about her passport, she got much information. 

Recently, only a few weeks earlier, the heroes of the 
abortive rescue attempt at Olmiitz, Dr. Bollmann and the 
American, Francis Huger, had passed through the town on 
their way to England after having been prisoners themselves 
since last November. A year ago, Bollmann, with the backing 
of Americans in London, had gone to Olmiitz. He had got- 
ten in touch with Lafayette through the prison doctor, who 
was duped into carrying secret messages, written in lemon 
juice, to and from the fortress. 

Somewhat reluctantly, Bollmann had fallen in with a plan 
of Lafayette's to spirit him away when he was taken for a 
drive outside the walls of the town, a special concession that 
had been made to Lafayette's poor health. Bollmann had 


gone to Vienna to get horses for the adventure and there he 
had enlisted Huger, a medical student and, by an almost in- 
credible coincidence, the son of the man in whose house 
Lafayette had stayed when he first landed in America in 
1777. Though the plot had misfired and the two young men 
had been arrested, they were released in August. After his 
brief taste of freedom Lafayette had actually mounted a 
horse and almost reached the frontier he was closely guarded 
and nothing had been heard from him. 

All of this was of consuming interest to Adrienne. The 
consul made out a passport for her and her daughters under 
her new name of Mrs. Motier. Since her real nationality must 
be kept hidden, she engaged a French servant to go with her 
as far as Vienna, a man who could speak German and who 
would attend to all the business of the trip while she re- 
mained silent in the background. She also bought, as cheaply 
as possible, a postchaise and a few necessities. 

While she was with Madame de Tess6, Adrienne could not 
help meeting many of the large colony of &nigrs who lived 
in the vicinity. News traveled fast in this community of 
exiles; all wanted to see someone who had just come from 
France. Adrienne could give some of her visitors word of 
their relatives at home and though most of them, she knew, 
had gloated over Lafayette's downfall, she showed no resent- 
ment. This was an object lesson in Christian forgiveness that 
was not lost on her two daughters. 

Within a week, Adrienne, Anastasie, and Virginie said 
goodbye to their relatives and left for Vienna. 


The Canticle of Tobit 

HEY HAD NONE of them traveled outside of France be- 
JL fore or so far from home. A whole new world, seen only 
through the peephole of a carriage window, passed before 
their eyes. In public they were mum and tried to be as in- 
conspicuous as possible; in the inns along their way they hid 
themselves behind closed doors. The German-speaking serv- 
ant was well worth his hire as courier, but there were some 
anxious moments as they pressed on from posthouse to post- 
house, from frontier to frontier of the checkerboard of Cen- 
tral Europe. At last, in mid-October, they reached the 
beautiful city on the Danube that was the heart and center 
of the Austrian Empire. 

Here, too, they had little chance for sightseeing and tried 
to avoid attention. One of Adrienne's uncles had been Am- 
bassador at Vienna for many years before the war between 
France and Austria began in 1792. He had made many 
Austrian friends. To one of them, a Countess Rumbeck, 
Adrienne had a letter of introduction. 

The Countess was very kind. She advised Adrienne to go 



to see Prince von Rosemberg, the Grand Chamberlain of the 
Austrian court. He, too, had been a friend of the Noailles 

The Prince was a little puzzled at first to know who this 
Mrs. Motier of Hartford, Connecticut was and what she 
wanted. He seemed to be a benevolent old gentleman, how- 
ever, and when the servant who had let her in was gone, 
Adrienne revealed her identity and her mission. Von Rosem- 
berg said that he would get her an audience with the Em- 
peror Francis II, without the Emperor's ministers knowing 
anything of it. 

Adrienne, Anastasie, and Virginie went to the great, 
sprawling jumble of buildings that make up the Hofberg 
and were led into a room in the inner royal apartments. The 
Emperor appeared. He was a young man, still in his twenties, 
a nephew of the slaughtered Marie Antoinette. His manner 
was coldly polite, but one felt that this was due more to 
shyness than lack of sympathy. He courteously listened while 
Adrienne asked very simply and directly for permission to 
share her husband's captivity. 

"I give you my permission," the Emperor said, without 
any show of surprise; he had been told, apparently, what she 
would ask. "As for his liberty" Adrienne had not mentioned 
liberty "that would be impossible. His case is very compli- 
cated. My hands are tied." 

Adrienne, breathless with emotion, murmured her thanks 
for the great favor he had shown her. She said that the wives 
of her husband's two friends who were with him at Olmiitz, 
Monsieur de la Tour Maubourg and Monsieur Bureau de 
Pusy, would envy her. 

"They have only to act as you do," the Emperor said, with 
a stiff little inclination of the head. "I would do the same 
for them." 

Adrienne said tentatively that she had heard there were 
certain inconveniences in Prussian prisons she had indeed 


heard that there were worse than inconveniences at Wesel 
and Magdebourg! If she found anything wrong at Olmiitz 
and had any requests to make, might she write directly to the 

"I consent," Francis said, still rigidly polite but obviously 
anxious to make the interview as brief as possible. "You will 
find, however, that Monsieur de Lafayette is well-fed and 
well-treated. I hope you will give me credit for that. Your 
presence will give him yet another reason for feeling well- 
satisfied. What is more, you will be pleased with the com- 
manding officer at Olmiitz. In the fortress the prisoners are 
distinguished only by number, but your husband's name is 

As they left the imperial presence, Adrienne was dizzy, 
reeling with happiness. She wanted to leave Vienna that very 
day, but she knew that that was impossible. She would have 
to wait at least a week for the order admitting her to the 
prison to pass through various hands and for word to be sent 
ahead of her to Olmiitz. She wrote to Hamburg; she wrote 
to George in America, urging him to ask President Washing- 
ton to communicate with the Emperor; she wrote also to 
James Monroe in Paris, telling him that she had arrived 

There was a strong temptation to luxuriate in the cer- 
tainty that she would soon be with Gilbert and to do nothing 
more herself, but she couldn't forget that her secondary, but 
none the less cogent, reason for coming to Austria was to 
work for Lafayette's freedom. She would have to see the 
Emperor's chief adviser, Baron von Thugut. He was the 
power behind the throne, she had been told. When the Em- 
peror had said that his hands were tied, he might have been 
referring to Thugut. 

Adrienne did not look forward to the interview. Thugut 
was unpopular even in Austria and was known to be rabidly 
anti-French, anti-Revolution, anti-Lafayette. At the moment 


an exchange was being arranged of certain Jacobin prisoners 
for the daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, who 
was still in France the only survivor of the French royal 
family. It seemed to Adrienne ironic that Lafayette, who had 
tried to save the lives of the King, the Queen and their chil- 
dren, should be held while those who had voted for the 
King's death should be set free. But she disdained to use 
such an argument with Thugut, though before they met she 
drew up a written statement of the injustice of her husband's 
imprisonment and presented it to him. 

She found the Minister to be as hostile as she had expected. 
He was a fantastically ugly man, a mixture, someone had 
said, of Punch and Mephistopheles. He refused to respond 
to any of her advances, though she tried her best to put a 
little warmth, a little friendliness into their conversation. 

"Surely, Monsieur Thugut," she said, "the coalition lays 
too much stress on the importance of a single man." 

"Too much importance!" Thugut repeated venomously, 
his ugly face contorted. 

She knew that it had been useless to come to see him and 
was only glad that Prince von Rosemberg had arranged for 
her to speak with the Emperor first, without the knowledge 
of his evilly-disposed counselor. 

While she was waiting for her permit, Adrienne renewed 
acquaintance with two women whom she had met formerly 
in France. Madame d'Ursel and Madame de Windischgratz 
were relatives of the Comtesse de la Marck, one of the best 
friends Adrienne had ever made outside of her own family. 
Both of them were warmhearted and were ready to help her 
in any way they could. At the end of the week, they invited 
her to come to their house to meet the Minister of War, 
Count Ferraris, who would deliver her the permit. 

"I think it is my duty to warn you, Madame," the Minister 
said disapprovingly as he handed her the paper, "that you 
should think twice before you take this step. You will be very 


uncomfortable; life in prison may have some serious conse- 
quences for you and your daughters." 

Adrienne thanked him mechanically. She had not really 
listened to what he was saying. She was only aware that she 
was holding the open sesame to Olmutz and that before she 
slept that night, she would have left many miles behind her. 
In a matter of hours, of minutes, she would be on the last 
stage of the journey she had dreamed of for three long years. 

The carriage that Adrienne had bought in Hamburg 
had broken down before she reached Vienna and she had had 
to hire an open wagon to make the three day trip to Olmutz. 
She and the girls traveled late and early. As they neared the 
end of their route, the rolling country through which they 
had been passing flattened out and they entered a wide, fer- 
tile plain, which stretched for miles in all directions and 
through which flowed a sluggish river. They had moved along 
so fast that it was only eleven o'clock in the morning of the 
third day when the driver turned around on his seat and 
pointed his whip towards the horizon, "Olmiitz," he said. 
One could see in the distance the outlines of the high wall 
that surrounded the city, the tapering points of steeples 
pricking up above it. 

The vision blurred. Tears filled Adrienne's eyes and rolled 
down her cheeks as she began to recite one of her best loved 
canticles, the prayer of the blind patriarch from The Book 
of Tobit, that romantic tale of a journey, a miraculous mar- 
riage, and heavenly guidance. When each of her daughters 
married, Henriette d' Ayen had read them the words that the 
old Tobias spoke in praise of God after he had heard the 
wonders that accompanied his son's quest. 

"Thou art great, O Lord, forever, and thy kingdom 
is unto all ages. 


"For thou scourgest, and thou saveth: thou leadest 
down to hell, and bringest up again: and there is none 
that can escape thy hand. 

"Give glory to the Lord, ye children of Israel: and 
praise him in the sight of the Gentiles. 

"Because he hath therefore scattered you among the 
Gentiles, who know not him, that you may declare his 
wonderful works: and make them know that there is no 
other almighty God besides him." 

The night before, Adrienne had said that she wondered 
how she, how anyone, could survive the overpowering happi- 
ness that lay ahead of her. Her heart sank a little, however, as 
they approached the city. 

It was not surrounded, as was Vienna and Paris, by sub- 
urbs; its fortifications, which had been remodeled and 
strengthened during the wars between Frederick the Great 
and Maria Theresa, rose up sheer from the plain. On the 
battlements, cannon were mounted; one could see the gleam- 
ing bayonets of sentinels above the ramparts. In Vienna, 
Adrienne had almost succeeded in convincing herself that her 
stay and her husband's here would be short, but now she 
was not so sure. 

They entered the city through a guarded gate. They drove 
through the winding streets and squares of the town to the 
house of the Commandant, General von Shroeder. Adrienne 
sent in her name. 

The officer who appeared was not the Commandant, but 
his deputy, Major von Germack, who was in charge of the 
military barrack where the prisoners were housed. The Major 
drove with Adrienne and her daughters to the southern end 
of the town, where the barrack stood a great gaunt building 
which had at one time been a Jesuit college. With its blank 
facade and rows of narrow, pointed windows, it still had a 
monastic look. 


The cells of the prisoners were at the rear of the building 
on the first floor. A guard unlocked a wicket to let them in 
and locked it behind them. Adrienne was once more a 
prisoner. If she had had any misgivings she had none! it 
would have been too late now to turn back. She was trem- 
bling with impatience to press forward. 

But there was a tantalizing, excruciating delay while the 
luggage was examined. Everything was turned out and 
thoroughly pawed over; some table knives and forks that 
Adrienne had brought with her were confiscated. She and 
the girls were told also to hand over their purses; there 
would be no bribing of jailers here, as at Le Plessis. 

They were led down a long series of somber passages. They 
came to a halt before two padlocked doors. The guard 
selected a key from the bunch that hung at his wrist. 

The door opened on a narrow, bare room at the end of 
which was a single, barred window; the upper half being 
closed by a solid shutter. The man who, with the light be- 
hind him, looked up in surprise, might have been a stranger. 
His ragged clothes hung loose; his skin had the bluish pallor 
of an invalid. Adrienne's moment of supreme joy came to 
her with a stab of pity and horror. 

Lafayette did not know that she was coming! The letter 
that Adrienne had written aboard The Little Cherub and 
dispatched from Hamburg had never reached the prison. 
The prisoner was bewildered, incredulous that his wife 
should be here, that these two big girls who put up their 
faces to be kissed were the little daughters he had last seen 
four years ago at Chavaniac. 

For almost a year now, ever since the Bollmann-Huger 
rescue attempt last November, Lafayette had not been out- 
side of his cell or the equally small and bare room that ad- 
joined it. He had seen no one but his jailers and for weeks 
at a time had been ill with his old chest complaint. How 


completely he had been cut off from all news was evident in 
the questions that he asked. From where had they come? 
Where had they been? He had thought that they were in 
Switzerland or perhaps in England with Pauline. He knew 
vaguely that there had been a terror in France he had heard 
of the King's execution before leaving Prussia but he had 
had none of the details. 

Adrienne, as she realized that he also knew nothing of 
the personal tragedies for which she had thought to prepare 
him in advance, waited for him to ask a question and dreaded 
the answer she must give. There seemed to be constraint on 
his part as well. They spoke of many people, of many things, 
but he failed to ask for her mother or Louise, the two mem- 
bers of her family to whom he had been particularly devoted. 

Several hours passed. It began to grow dark. The Major 
returned, bringing a squad of soldiers with him. It was time, 
he said, for the young frauleins to be locked up for the night. 
They could spend the day with their parents, but they were 
to sleep next door. The locking up process was performed 
with full military ceremony. As though they were desperados 
who might at any moment make a dash for freedom, Ana- 
stasie and Virginie were marched from one room to the other 
under the naked, crossed swords of the guard. 

When they were alone, Adrienne told Gilbert what he had 
sensed, what he had avoided forcing her to say until she 
could find full comfort in his arms. 


Prison Idyl 

^|-1HE FOLLOWING DAY, Adricnne began to discover that the 
JL Austrian war minister had been right when he predicted 
discomforts for her and her daughters. She began to see how 
misleading or how misinformedthe Emperor had been 
when he said that her husband was well-fed and well-lodged. 

The two rooms in which Lafayette had paced restlessly 
back and forth for eighteen months, when he was not pros- 
trated by fever, were bare of all furniture except a stove 
which was fueled from without and frequently failed to give 
any heat a bed, a commode, a table, and four or five straight- 
backed wooden chairs. 

The outlook from the rooms was dreary, though far- 
reaching, the barrack being set so high on a rise of ground 
that one could see over the walls of the city and catch a glint 
of the river that flowed around this southern end of the town. 
Beyond, lay marshlands, diapered with bands of fog on these 
chilly October mornings. In the foreground was a jumble of 
outbuildings, used as arsenals and storehouses. 

Immediately below the windows was an empty space 



through which flowed an open sewer, its slimy contents 
flavoring the rooms with a sickening smell even when the 
windows were tightly closed. The barrack latrines were 
located here. Dead bodies from the military hospital next 
door were sometimes carried out and deposited by the sewer 
until they could be coffined; almost daily, soldiers were 
brought here to be flogged, the thud of the whip and the 
shrieks of the victims plainly audible. 

Three times a day, the prisoners' meals were carried in by 
a soldier and dumped down upon the table. They were suffi- 
cient, but unappetizing. The dishes were often dirty and had 
been left standing so long in the guardroom en route from 
the kitchen that their contents were well-seasoned with 
tobacco smoke. Since neither fork nor knife was provided, 
one ate with one's fingers "a custom," Lafayette commented, 
"that I have seen among the aborigines of North America." 

On the first Sunday after her arrival, Adrienne asked the 
Major if she and her daughters could go to Mass at the near- 
est church, but the only answer was a vigorous shake of the 
head. She thought that she should complain of this in writing 
to the Commandant for hadn't the Emperor said that the 
Commandant would be obliging? She put it off, however, 
thinking that General von Shroeder might come to see her 

The very thought of complaining of anything anything at 
all was distasteful to her. In spite of the squalor of her 
surroundings, in spite of being frustrated in her religious in- 
clinations, she was happy happy as she had never been be- 
fore in her life, except at brief intervals. After twenty years 
and more of infatuated love, she had her husband entirely to 
herself; he could not escape her now. There was no career of 
adventure to beckon him across the seas, no dangerous duties 
to the state to call him out at all hours, no mistress, no 
friends or henchmen clamoring for their share of his atten- 
tion. He was hers, and hers alone. 


And, as always when he was with her, he seemed content 
that this should be so. He had lost none of his responsiveness, 
his skill in the give and take o affection. She had been afraid 
that his bitter experiences might have warped him, but he 
still possessed the quality that she had always adored in him, 
of detached judgment on human beings and events. He made 
no effort, as she did, to forgive his enemies, because hatred 
personal hatred seemed entirely absent from his make up. 
Gleefully she noted that, though he was still haggard and 
gaunt, his physical condition seemed to improve a little from 
day to day and this could only be accounted for by her being 
there with her children. 

The strange life that they led soon fell into a pattern. In 
the mornings, Adrienne was locked into the room next door 
with the girls until noon. She gave Virginie, poor little Vir- 
ginie whose education had been so neglected, lessons, as best 
she could in the absence of all schoolroom equipment. At 
dinner time, all three went back to Lafayette's room and 
stayed there until evening. 

They talked how much they had to say to one another! 
They were busy in various ways. Anastasie took over the 
housework. She mended her father's clothes, which were in 
a fearful state of dilapidation after four years' wear without 
replacements. One old coat that was beyond repair, she cut 
up to make him a pair of quilted shoes. As a present for her 
father, Anastasie drew a sketch on her thumbnail later 
transferred to paper of the chief jailer, a detestable little 
man whom she and Virginie had nicknamed Cataquois. A 
round bullet head, a meager whisp of pigtail curled over his 
left shoulder Cataquois was represented carrying a small 
hand lamp to light him down the dark passages to the cells, 
a switch swinging from his wrist by a thong. In the evenings, 
much to Virginia's delight, Lafayette read aloud to his family 
from the battered miscellany of books in the cell. 

Much daylight time was spent in writing. The pens that 


Adrienne had brought with her were confiscated along with 
the tableware, but a small slab of India ink had escaped the 
luggage inspection. Lafayette had a toothpick, a very valu- 
able toothpick, worth to him its weight in rubies. With it he 
had written all the secret letters he had smuggled out of the 
prison at Magdebourg. Now it was put to use again. Ana- 
stasie wrote, at her father's dictation, a memorandum to his 
friends and followers; if not written in his familiar, easily 
recognized hand, there might be a chance some day of send- 
ing it out of the prison. For paper, Anastasie used the fly 
leaves of books; they were much too precious the India ink, 
also for Virginie to scribble on or to do her sums. 

Adrienne too, toothpick in hand, spent long hours bent 
over a volume by Buffon, the French naturalist. It had wide 
margins and many blank pages, on the reverse of which were 
printed engravings. She had wanted for more than a year to 
compose a tribute to her mother in the form of a memoir. 
While she was in Vienna, she had opened a book by Pascal 
and had come upon a passage that seemed to express so per- 
fectly her mother's creed that she thought she could actually 
hear her mother's voice speaking softly in her ear. Adrienne 
intended not only a brief biography but a psychological por- 
trait. To do so, she must go back to the beginning and see 
her mother as a child. 

Slowly, delicately, her work took shape. 

"Anne-Louise-Hemiette d'Aguesseau, my mother," Adri- 
enne wrote, "was born on the isth of February, 1737. Mad- 
ame de Fresnes, her mother, having died a few days after 
her birth; her father, son of Chancellor d'Aguesseau, handed 
her over to the care of a nurse, with whom she was sent, 
when she was three years old, to the Convent of the Visitation 
of Saint Denis. There she was particularly entrusted to one 
of the nuns, Madame d'H&icourt, a most accomplished per- 
son, who had great talent as a teacher. She knew how to make 


virtue attractive to her pupils. But to virtue my mother's 
heart was naturally inclined; to its practice she applied her- 
self from her earliest childhood with that rectitude which 
was her special characteristic. With an irresolute, but supe- 
rior mind, with a physical and moral inclination to be 
troubled and alarmed in all circumstances, she had one aim 
that was superior to all others. To her could always be ap- 
plied the words o the n8th Psalm, 'My soul is continually 
in my hands, yet do I not forget Thy law.' " 

Adrienne felt that what her mother had shared with the 
psalmist and with Pascal to an unusual degree, was the sense 
of divine guidance and, at the same time, of personal moral 

The serious, anxious little girl whom Adrienne had con- 
jured up, refrained from playing chess because she found 
herself thinking of gambits during Mass; she carried on a 
stately correspondence with her grandfather, the Chancellor. 
Having read at the age of five a book about the fathers of 
the Church, who wrestled with demons in the desert, Henri- 
ette d'Aguesseau was frightened to think that God might 
have chosen her to be a saint and that she might see terrible, 
soul-searing visions. She did not find her true vocation until, 
at eighteen, she was married and had children of her own, 
for "to be a mother God had formed her." 

"A mother my mother;" as she wrote the words over and 
over again with pride, Adrienne relived her own childhood 
and her sisters' in the Hotel de Noailles. Scenes that she had 
never forgotten and could never forget came back to her. 
With her sisters, she was standing once again in the garden 
of the hotel, her face pressed against the windowpane of a 
dim-lit room on the ground floor. The Duchess had been 
very ill and for weeks the children had not been allowed to 
see her. Looking in, they began to whimper, to sob, for the 
woman lying in the great bed was a stranger. Their mother's 


face had been so scarred by smallpox that for a moment they 
did not recognize her! 

There was little fear however, little shock in most of what 
Adrienne could recall so vividly. Peace and security had been 
her earliest heritage. She tried to analyze the confidence that 
her mother had inspired. 

"It was not the kind of confidence which I think many 
mothers strive for and seldom obtain from their children, 
the confidence one feels in a companion of one's own age. 
It was intimate and limitless; it was born of the innate crav- 
ing to be directed and approved ... It was the confidence 
that always brings one back to a support, to a guide on whose 
wisdom and tenderness one may lean. . . . Even when one 
did not agree with her decisions, even when one was sure of 
her disapproval, one turned to her and the idea of hiding 
what had been done, or said, or even thought, was unthink- 
able. Such were the feelings that I had for my mother, when, 
as often, she let me discuss my problems with her." 

Adrienne, when she wrote these words, had come in her 
account to the time of her own marriage, and, in the shabby 
room at Olmiitz, with Lafayette beside her, she poured out 
her gratitude for all that her mother had done to make the 
marriage perfect. She remembered little things, not fully 
appreciated at the time perhaps, that had smoothed her way 
and his; the gayeties that the Duchess arranged for the 
newly married couple, the dinner parties, the balls at Ver- 
sailles, the time when Gilbert was inoculated for smallpox 
and Madame d'Ayen rented a little house at Chaillot where 
she could nurse him and keep him amused during the 
tedious weeks of convalescence. 

How loyally she had come to his defence when he went to 
America for the first time and the elders of the Noailles clan 
grumbled! How constantly she tried to keep Adrienne's cour- 
age up during the long years when he was overseas! It was 
loyalty also that had bridged the gap between his political 


ideas and hers during the Revolution. Even at the last, when 
he was an exile and all the nation was against him, she had 
had the courage to work for him, trudging to see people in 
Paris who might help him, or to collect any scrap of news 
that she might send to Chavaniac. 

Of the end of her mother's life, of what Grelet and Father 
Canichon had told her, Adrienne could not bring herself to 
speak but she set down a few details she had learned from a 
Madame Lavet, one of the prisoners who was at the Con- 
ciergerie on the night before the execution, one of the few 
who survived. 

The three Noailles women were exhausted when they ar- 
rived at the prison. They had only enough money to buy a 
little gooseberry wine to slake their thirst. Neither Madame 
d'Ayen, nor the Marchale fully realized that death lay ahead 
of them. The Marchale sat up in bed and read over and 
over her act of accusation, saying that she couldn't possibly 
be put to death for a conspiracy of which she had never 
heard. At times she would break off to worry about her cap, 
which she thought was too elegant, too aristocratic to be 
worn before a Revolutionary committee. Madame d'Ayen 
lay down on a cot and kept begging Louise to lie down beside 
her and get some rest, which Louise did occasionally to 
humor her mother. Louise knew that it was useless to save 
her strength, since this was her last night on earth. 

In the morning, the Duchess seemed to see the inevitable 
more clearly, and she, who was so timid physically, so apt 
"to be troubled and alarmed in all circumstances" showed 
great courage. She talked very tenderly of her grandchildren 
and tried to leave a watch for them as a final keepsake, with 
her fellow prisoners. But the women in the cell were afraid 
to take it, nor would they take a lock of hair, a miniature, 
and an empty pocketbook that Louise wanted to give them. 
For the last time Louise, who had spent the night reading her 
prayer book helped her mother and grandmother dress and 


said with a smile to Madame Lavet as she thanked her for 
her kindness, "Your face is happy; you will not die I am 

Father Carrichon, who had given her mother and Louise 
Absolution on their way to the scaffold, had told Adrienne 
when she saw him in Paris that as he came away from the 
Barrifcre du Trdne, he thought of the centurion who stood 
at the foot of the cross. It would not be irreverent to see, in 
that cruel death outside the walls of Paris, a reenactment, an 
imitation of the death in which "all Christians find their 
second birth." 

"That is the consolation which remains to us and which 
sustains us," Adrienne wrote on the final page of the volume 
by Buffon. "To follow in the footsteps of those so dear, I 
think, would have made easy the horrors of such an end. 

"I have rejected silence, though what I have had to say is 
beyond expression." 


November, 1791 November, 1799 


Freedom Campaign 

T^EACEFULLY, almost imperceptibly each day was like the 
A one before, the one that followed after two months went 
by. Christmas was not far off and still there had been no call 
from the Commandant of Olmiitz, General von Shroeder, 
though Adrienne had asked to see him and had written to 
him, not with the toothpick pen, but with one supplied her 
by Major von Germack. 

Every four weeks the Major had visited the cell so that 
Adrienne could write to Mr. Parish, the Consul in Hamburg, 
for money to pay for her board and lodging in the prison. 
Unlike Lafayette, she and the girls were not to be guests of 
the Austrian government. The first time Germack came, he 
brought Adrienne a letter from her father in Switzerland, 
the second time, letters from Pauline and Madame de Tess. 
Under the officer's watchful eye, she was allowed to reply 

When Germack came in December, Adrienne wrote to the 
Minister of War, Count Ferraris, whom she had met in 
Vienna. Again she asked to go to Mass, hoping that the minis- 



ter would reply promptly and favorably so that she could 
be in church on Christmas Day. She asked also that she and 
Lafayette might see Lafayette's friends, de Maubourg and 
de Pusy, whose cells were in the same block, who were only 
a few yards off and yet so far. 

It would only take three days for mail to go to Vienna, 
three for a return, but Christmas came and went and the 
New Year of 1796 had come in before Adrienne heard from 
Ferraris. He was concise and frigidly courteous. He told her 
that it was the War Department's duty to guard the prisoners 
of His Imperial Majesty, not to decide the conditions under 
which they were being held; he could do nothing for her. 
He took obvious satisfaction in reminding her that he had 
warned her in advance and that it was by her own choice that 
she and her daughters were in the barrack. 

Again Adrienne made use of the writing materials Ger- 
mack brought her. She thanked Ferraris pointedly for his 
politeness in answering her letter. She complained of Von 
Shroeder's neglect and repeated the demands that she had 
made; to go to Mass, to see de Maubourg and de Pusy, and 
also Lafayette's servants, Chavaniac and F61ix Pontonnier. 
As to his reminder that she had come here of her own free 
will, she felt that she could speak for herself, Anastasie, and 
Virginie when she said that they none of them had changed 
their minds; they were all three much happier here in prison 
with Lafayette than they could possibly be anywhere else. 

But she had yet another request to make. Since Christmas, 
Adrienne had begun to feel wretchedly ill. Her health, which 
had survived so many privations, so many long, jolting jour- 
neys, so much sorrow, had cracked under the strain of a 
sedentary life. Her head ached, she had begun to run a fever, 
her arms and legs felt heavy and were swollen. At first she 
had hidden her symptoms, and was so cheerful and serene 
that neither Lafayette nor the girls noticed that anything was 


When they discovered her condition, the doctor was sent 
for, Dr. Kreutschke, who was in charge of the military hos- 
pital. He could speak no French. He had, however, received 
his dose of Latin in medical school and Lafayette could re- 
member enough of the Latin he had learned as a small boy 
from the cur of Chavaniac to tell the Doctor Adrienne's 
symptoms and question him. Kreutschke was baffled; a dis- 
order of the blood was as near as he could come to a diag- 
nosis. He could suggest nothing effective in the way of 

Urged on by Lafayette, Adrienne asked Ferraris in her 
January letter if she could go to Vienna for a week to consult 
a competent physician, leaving her daughters with their 
father while she was gone. This time the reply was less slow 
in transit. On January 27th, Ferraris informed her that 
neither he nor die War Department could give her permis- 
sion to leave the prison; for that she must apply to the Em- 
peror himself. 

Adrienne wrote at once to Francis, the result being a wait 
of many weeks and then, in March, a visit his first from 
the Commandant. General von Shroeder told her verbally 
what was the Emperor's pleasure; she could go to Vienna if 
she wished, but on one condition, that she should never 
return to Olmiitz. 

Adrienne's recoil was definite. For Von Shroeder's bene- 
fit, she put into writing a statement that she preferred to 
stay where she was, no matter what the effect might be on 
her health. After all that she had been through, she couldn't 
face "the horrors of another separation." 

It was a cruel disappointment to her, however, for she had 
intended to do much more in Vienna than to let a doctor 
examine her and listen to her medical history. She would 
have seen again the friends she had made at the time of her 
first visit; she would have tried to get close to someone at the 
top level of authority, other than Baron von Thugut, and 


to investigate the hidden as well as the obvious reasons for 
Lafayette's imprisonment. All her complaints and petitions 
for privileges had been made with the underlying idea of 
furthering her campaign for freedom. 

There was nothing for it now but to make light of her 
miseries so as not to worry her family. Adrienne put up 
with the poor comforts of the cell, though there was not even 
an easy chair in which she could rest her aching body. She 
was particularly distressed that she could do so little for the 
other Olmiitz prisoners, who had been so self-sacrificing, who 
had always put Lafayette's welfare first, and had made no 
move toward their own individual liberties. 

Although it was true that Lafayette had not seen any of 
them since he had been in Austria, he had been able to com- 
municate with de Maubourg and de Pusy after a fashion, 
thanks to Flix Pontonnier, the coachman's son, Lafayette's 
youthful secretary. 

Fflix was a talented and ingenious lad. He could play the 
recorder and had worked out a shorthand code based on the 
words of certain popular airs which was known both to Lafa- 
yette and to the servant of Cdsar de la Tour Maubourg. This 
man was watched much less closely than Flix and could see 
his master frequently. De Maubourg had been allowed to 
receive outside letters when they were denied to Lafayette 
and, by means of Felix's plaintive toodings, a few rudi- 
mentary messages were relayed from one cell to another. 
Before Adrienne came to Olmiitz, for instance, Lafayette had 
learned through Fflix that she was still alive but nothing 

After their arrival in October, Anastasie and Virginie lost 
no time in developing a simpler, more efficient means of cor- 
respondence. When they were locked up for the night, the 
girls would let down from their window at the end of a cord, 
a small package and dangle it beneath the nose of the guard 


below. In the package might be a piece of cheese, or some 
other tidbit they had saved from their supper. After pleasant 
relations had been established, they ventured to let down 
letters addressed to de Maubourg or de Pusy along with 
their bribe. A night or two later a return letter would be 
tied to the string before it was drawn up through the bars. 

This was well enough for the time being, but in March 
something of great importance happened, something that 
compensated for Adrienne's having to abandon her plan to 
go to Vienna. 

Anastasie had been feeling poorly. She was feverish and 
Adrienne was concerned lest Virginie might catch the in- 
fection; the two sisters had to share a single narrow bed. Dr. 
Kreutschke, who had taken to paying regular professional 
visits, one day asked the guard to see the room where the 
young ladies slept; he was afraid that it might be damp; 
dampness was a mighty breeder of fevers. 

Kreutschke was in the room for only a short time, but 
when Anastasie and Virginie returned to it in the evening 
they found that the bed had been rumpled. A fat bundle had 
been stuffed beneath the coverlet, a bundle of mail which 
had come from Hamburg. It had been brought to Olmiitz 
by a person unknown, who signed himself "Feldmann." 

After that, at fairly frequent intervals, Kreutschke came 
to and went from the prison with his pockets loaded. He 
was apparently being well-paid for his services. "Whoever 
you are, Monsieur Feldmann," Adrienne wrote, "we thank 
you with all our hearts." Now she could write fully and 
frankly to her family and to many others! Now she and Lafa- 
yette could know all that their friends were doing and had 
done for them! 

There were friends, it seemed, no farther away than 
the encircling walls of Olmiitz, that one could see from the 


barrack window. Even here in the heart of the Austrian em- 
pire there were liberals who sympathized with Lafayette's 
democratic aims and who had learned that he was in the bar- 
rack. The rector of the local university was one; a prosperous 
merchant, Herr Hirsch, was another. 

Months ago, Hirsch had received a packet of letters for 
the Lafayettes, forwarded by James Monroe from Paris. He 
kept them for sometime and, despairing of getting them into 
the prison, burned them. In April of 1796, Hirsch was sum- 
moned to The Golden Swan in the Bachesgasse, the best inn 
in Olmiitz, to meet a Baron Feldmann who had come to the 
town on business. Hirsch was rather surprised when Feld- 
mann, a total stranger, embraced him affectionately in the 
public room of the inn and whispered in his ear, "Pretend 
that you know me! I am a friend of Gilbert!" 

Feldmann was actually a French army officer, H. L. V. 
Ducoudray-Holstein, who had been educated at Leipzig and 
spoke perfect German. While on leave in Hamburg, he met 
several of Lafayette's friends, among them Mr. Parish, the 
American Consul, who sent him to Austria with all the trap- 
pings of an affluent business man fine clothes, a fine carriage 
to ride in, and a servant to wait upon him. He intended to 
travel around to other commercial centers in Austria and 
Silesia to put the authorities off the scent, but as long as he 
was needed to carry mail his main route would be between 
Hamburg and Olmiitz. 

In Hamburg and elsewhere, pro-Lafayette activities had 
never ceased in the past three and a half years, but that 
spring and summer of 1796 much was being done in Eng- 
land. Some of Lafayette's Magdebourg letters had been cop- 
ied and sent about to private individuals, but the letters that 
began to trickle out of Olmiitz via Feldmann got an even 
wider audience. Their substance was incorporated into arti- 
cles that appeared in liberal English newspapers and also in 
Holland, over the signature "Eleuthfere," die Greek word 


for "freeman." Some of them purported to have been written 
by an ex-officer of the guard at Olmiitz to his brother, giving 
an inside, firsthand account of what went on within the 
prison. All the grimy details, all the humiliating restrictions 
were described and nothing was lost in the telling. The 
fact that Adrienne had come as an angel of mercy to Olmiitz, 
and that now she and her daughters were being as barbar- 
ously persecuted as Lafayette himself, was featured. 

The "Eleuthfcre" articles continued to be printed at inter- 
vals for many months and eventually got under the leathery 
skin of the Austrian government. Protests were sent through 
the Imperial Ambassador at the Court of St. James and, since 
nobody in England seemed to know who "Eleuthfcre" was, 
spies were sent from Vienna to try, unsuccessfully, to nose 
him out and silence him. At the same time the Whig leaders 
in Parliament, Fox, Sheridan, and Fitzpatrick, who as early 
as 1794 had spoken for Lafayette in the House of Commons, 
kept up their sniping tactics. 

The friends of Lafayette were convinced that the chief 
obstacle to freedom was not in Vienna, but in Whitehall. 
The Tory government of William Pitt was pushing the war 
against France in spite of apathy and resistence at home 
and the Tories had never forgotten Lafayette's part in the 
American Revolution. 

As for Austria, she was sick of being forever beaten by the 
French. She could gain little by victory and was dependent 
on her ally, England, for military supplies. Baron von 
Thugut, the malevolent, ugly man whom Adrienne had in- 
terviewed in Vienna, was the slave of Pitt Fox one day in 
Parliament quoted the very words that the Emperor had 
spoken to Adrienne: "My hands are tied." It was Pitt, Fox 
suggested, who had tied them. 

This brought a rolling, polysyllabic riposte from the Tory 
benches. "Those who start revolutions will always be in my 
eyes the object of an irresistible reprobation," the speaker 


intoned. "I take delight in seeing them drink to the dregs, 
the cup of bitterness that they have prepared for the lips o 

The exchanges in Parliament had publicity value in the 
campaign for freedom, but of more practical importance for 
the future, were certain military events that were taking 
place far to the south of Vienna. In Paris, the five members 
of the recently elected Directory spent most of their time in 
plotting against one another and in picking the public purse; 
on the Rhine the French armies were making little head- 
way; but in March of 1796 a young, untried General, Napo- 
leon Bonaparte, was put in command of the Army of Italy, 
chiefly because his charming, newly-acquired wife, Josephine 
Beauharnais, was a good friend of one of the Directors. 

Soon news of astounding victories, of towns taken, of Aus- 
trian armies brushed aside, came back to France and thence 
by slow degrees to Olmiitz. The significance of the Italian 
campaign was not grasped at first by the prisoners, for their 
hopes lay elsewhere. All of them, de Maubourg and de Pusy 
as well as the Lafayettes, and even F61ix Pontonnier, who 
was studying English in his cell, intended to go to America, 
if they were freed. 

One of the first uncensored letters that Adrienne wrote 
was to Lafayette's would-be rescuer, Dr. Bollmann, who, 
with his colleague, Francis Huger, had set sail for the United 
States about the time Adrienne was arriving in Austria. The 
American coterie in London had encouraged the adventur- 
ous Bollmann to make another effort for Lafayette; he had 
been given letters of introduction that would bring him to 
the attention of President Washington. Adrienne thought 
that by this time, May 22nd, Bollmann would be back in 
England with instructions of some sort from the President. 
She wanted not only to thank the Doctor for all that he and 
Huger had done and suffered, but to ask for news of her son 


George, whom he must surely have seen. From George him- 
self, Adrienne had heard nothing since she parted from him 
more than a year ago in Paris. Only from Pauline had she 
heard of her son's safe arrival in the United States. 



TJORTUNATELY, considering the uncertain heating system in 
JL the cells, the winter had been mild, but with the return 
of warm weather the windows had to be kept open. The sun 
beat into the dingy little rooms, in which no cross draft was 
possible and the smell of the sewer was the smell of death. 
Swarms of flies buzzed about the prisoners* ears. 

Adrienne's illness increased and could no longer be dis- 
regarded. She was continually feverish. Abscesses formed on 
her swollen arms and legs. She had difficulty in moving about 
and even found writing for any length of time painful. 
Anastasie became her amanuensis. She and Virginie were the 
only ones who were still healthy, for the letters from de Mau- 
bourg and de Pusy told a depressing tale of sickness. De 
Maubourg could no longer stomach the rancid prison food. 
De Pusy could survive it better, but he was steadily losing 
weight and strength. 

The following autumn, Major von Germack who, de 
Maubourg had quipped, was "born to be a jailer, just as 
Voltaire was born to be a poet" disappeared from the prison 



staff and his place was taken by a Captain MacElligott, a 
Scotchman who had taken service in the Imperial army. He 
was very obliging, came to the cells often and tried to make 
them a little more comfortable, though what he could do 
was severely limited by his lack of authority. 

Adrienne and the others also noted a change for the better 
in the manners of the jailers. Even the underlings, even the 
turnkey, Cataquois, and the men who paced back and forth 
at night beneath the girls' window, had heard of the tri- 
umphs of General Bonaparte. Each victory raised a trifle 
higher, the respect in which the prisoners were held. 

And throughout another damp and foggy winter, that 
brought no relief to Adrienne's illness, the victories con- 
tinued. By spring, every fortified town in Italy had fallen to 
the French. An army was advancing on Vienna itself. In 
April of 1797, a truce was called and the preliminaries to 
peace discussions were begun. 

In Paris, the Directory was being bombarded by Lafayette 
petitions, for some of the Constitutionalists had come out 
of hiding and were making themselves heard. Instructions 
were sent to Bonaparte that a demand for Lafayette's release 
should be made at once. Another general, General Clarke, 
was sent to Italy to sit in on the negotiations and with him 
went a young man, Louis Romeuf, who had served under 
Lafayette and rode into exile with him in 1792. At the same 
time, Victor de la Tour Maubourg, C&ar's brother, and 
Florimond, C&ar's son, went to Vienna with Ducoudray- 
Holstein, alias Baron Feldmann. Disregarded there, they 
went on to the castle near Milan where Bonaparte was living 
with Josephine. 

The victorious General had little sympathy with the pris- 
oners of Olmiitz, but he allowed Romeuf to go back to 
Vienna to talk with Thugut. As a direct result of these talks, 
a visitor was ushered into Lafayette's room on July 24th by 
Captain MacElligott an Austrian officer, whose polished 


boots and smart uniform were in sharp contrast to the ragged 
clothes and the homemade cloth shoes o the man who cere- 
moniously received him. 

MacElligott did not need to introduce the two, for they 
had met before. The Austrian officer was the Marquis de 
Chasteler, who had taken Lafayette into custody almost five 
years ago in Belgium. He had traveled fast to Olmiitz, mak- 
ing the trip from Vienna in a single day. He had been com- 
missioned to report to the Emperor on the conditions in the 
Jesuit barrack and to deliver an offer of freedom to the 
French prisoners. Its most important proviso was that Lafa- 
yette and his friends should promise never to set foot on 
Austrian soil again. 

There were bows, excessive politeness, and dignity on 
either side. Lafayette was too proud to draw attention to 
the state of his clothes or the room; he left that to the eyes 
and nose of his visitor. The only complaint he made was 
that he had been kept so long without news of his family. 
He showed a chilly lack of enthusiasm for Chasteler's pro- 
posal, said that he needed time to think it over, and that 
first he would have to consult with his two friends. To this 
de Chasteler consented. 

The next morning, at the early hour of seven o'clock, the 
key grated in the lock, the door swung back, and de Mau- 
bourg and de Pusy walked into the room. The three com- 
rades, so long apart, looked sorrowfully at one another. No 
one of them realized, perhaps, how much he himself had 
changed. De Maubourg had lost several of his teeth; he and 
de Pusy, still in their forties, were old men before their time. 
As they embraced Lafayette, feeble, invalid tears were trick- 
ling down their cheeks. 

There was little time to talk privately, however, and there 
was little to be said. All three quickly and unanimously 
agreed that the offer must be rejected. 



In a very short time, Captain MacElligott again appeared 
with the Marquis de Chasteler. The prisoners drew them- 
selves up to greet him. Imaginary epaulettes sprouted from 
their shoulders; imaginary swords dangled at their sides as 
they explained that, though none of them had the slightest 
wish to see Austria again, they might, as Frenchmen, be or- 
dered by their government to do so in some military capac- 

De Chasteler expressed his regret. At his request, they 
drew up a statement of their joint decision and any com- 
ments they wished to make on their imprisonment. After the 
three documents had been looked over, signed, and dated, 
de Chasteler and the others withdrew, leaving Adrienne and 
Lafayette alone again. 

Adrienne had no fault to find with the way in which her 
menfolk had behaved. It would be dishonorable, she thought, 
to sneak out of Austria like branded criminals. When they 
left, it would be as prisoners of state, whose importance to 
France had been fully recognized. But that they would leave 
sooner or later seemed at the moment certain. 

As days and weeks went by, however, the certainty began 
to fade. In August a letter they were delivered openly now 
came from Louis Romeuf in Vienna. He respected the 
stand that Lafayette had taken, but he was beginning to be 
discouraged. The Emperor was pigheaded and indifferent. 
Thugut was furious. At each interview with Romeuf, he 
poured out his hatred for Lafayette and for Lafayette's "in- 

The only feature of the situation that was in Romeuf s 
favor was that Thugut was disgusted with the whole affair 
and wanted to be rid of it. When, at a moment of compara- 
tive calm, Romeuf suggested that Lafayette should be handed 
over to the American consul at Hamburg, Thugut yielded. 
Romeuf wrote to Olmiitz, hoping, yet doubting, that the ar- 


rangement would be satisfactory and reported that he was 
off for Hamburg to consult with the Consul, Mr. Parish. 

More weeks went by. The prisoners had signified their 
acquiesence but nothing happened, no word came from 
Vienna. Had Thugut gone back on his word? Was he playing 
with them? 

Adrienne, ill though she was, her sufferings redoubled by 
the fetid air and the heat of yet another summer, wrote let- 
ters to everyone she could think of who might appeal to 
Thugut or to the Emperor, making drafts of the appeals to 
be copied and signed. She advised Romeuf as to what he 
should do and say that would neither compromise him nor 
run contrary to the stand that Lafayette had taken. 

At last, on September igth, 1797, five years and a month 
after Lafayette's capture in Belgium, the order for release 
arrived at the prison. Adrienne was so ill that Lafayette and 
the others wanted to put off leaving the town for a short 
time, until she was in better condition to travel, but she 
wouldn't hear of it. A single day, a single hour longer in this 
hated spot would be too much! 

There were few preparations to be made for the journey, 
little to be packed. The Lafayettes were reunited with Flix 
Pontonnier and Chavaniac. F61ix had grown to man's estate 
in the past five years and looked sickly; the valet also. 

All the company drove to The Golden Swan in the Baches- 
gasse, which Feldmann had made his headquarters when he 
was in Olmiitz. He was there to greet them in person and 
to reveal his identity as Ducoudray-Holstein. He would 
travel with them, he said, as far as Hamburg. 

During the dinner that was eaten at the Swan, there was a 
good deal of hysterical laughter, a good many bad jokes made 
about the awkwardness that everyone showed in handling 
knife and fork. No time was lost in sitting over table. Before 
the sun was low, a caravan of carriages drove out of the west- 


ern gate of the city. Soon the high walls of Olmiitz dwindled 
down into the distance behind it. 

In the last unit of the caravan rode a single traveler to 
whom no one had been more than coldly polite. He was an 
Austrian Major, who had been given the thankless task of 
seeing that his charges got to Hamburg and were properly 
disposed of. 

All were anxious to reach the seaport city as soon as pos- 
sible, but knew that they would have to travel by easy stages 
because the jarring motion of the carriage was painful to 
Adrienne. In spite of the mild autumn weather, all the win- 
dows were at first kept closed. After having spent so many 
months and years indoors, the prisoners of Olmiitz were 
almost overpowered by the glare of the sun and the rushing 
currents of free air that blew about them. 

Several days after they left, but while they were still in 
Austrian territory, they saw across some fields, at a bend of 
the road, a solitary rider, who had wheeled his horse about 
and was looking at them. They recognized Louis Romeuf. 
So much of the valiant work he had done for them had been 
done in secret that he thought it unwise to approach them. 
With a wave of the hand, he rode away. They knew, however, 
that he had come all the way from Hamburg just to catch a 
glimpse of them and that they would see him soon again. 

In the Austrian towns through which they passed, the 
travelers were often stared at curiously, but the gentleman in 
the last carriage prevented anyone from coming near enough 
to speak to them. What a change when they crossed the fron- 
tier! They were surrounded by friends. Romeuf was waiting 
for them at Dresden, and also the wives of de Maubourg and 
de Pusy who, with their children, had been living in sight 
of Austria for weeks, expecting the arrival of the Olmiitz 
party daily. There were two de Maubourg girls, who were 


older than Anastasie and Virginia. Madame de Pusy had a 
little five-year-old daughter, whom her father had never seen. 

The caravan was enormously increased. Now began a se- 
ries of receptions that brought to mind the triumphal prog- 
ress that the Lafayettes had made six years ago from Paris to 
Auvergne. Crowds flocked to the inns at every stop. In Leip- 
zig and Halle, university towns, the student corps turned out 
en masse in their caps and sashes. There were torchlight pro- 
cessions and the fine, deep-throated roar of young male voices 
shouting Kommerslieder, followed by The Marseillaise. 

Ducoudray-Holstein was ecstatic. He had been a student 
himself at Leipzig, he knew these songs. Lafayette had never 
heard them, nor had he heard the great anthem of the Re- 
public, but he, who always enjoyed popularity, was uplifted 
by the cheers and applause. 

Adrienne, too, ill though she was, was somewhat revived. 
Much of the cheering was for her; all these good people knew 
how she had come to share her husband's prison. She was 
bewildered when one day a young man, who had just been 
introduced to her, stood speechless before her and then fell 
on his knees. He would have kissed the hem of her dress, if 
she had not laughingly twitched it away and told him to 
stand up. "I am not a goddess," she exclaimed. 

When she saw that her worshiper was crestfallen, she asked 
Virginie to give up the chair beside her to him so that she 
could chat with him and make amends. 

She was very tired when they reached Hamburg, but ap- 
parently no worse for the trip. If anything, she had begun to 
gain a little strength, though hardly enough to meet the 
whirlwind welcome staged by Lafayette's admirers. Many 
American ships were lying in the mouth of the Elbe; all 
their flags were flying when the Lafayette party approached. 
The wayfarers were about to cross the river in a ferry when 
an American sea captain came to invite them on board his 


ship for dinner and offered to row them ashore to the city 
in the afternoon. 

It was five o'clock when they finally arrived at the house 
of the American Consul, John Parish. Such masses of people 
had gathered about it that a way had to be cleared for the 
Lafayettes to enter. Once they had been squeezed inside, 
both Adrienne and Lafayette collapsed from exhaustion. 
They wept. Adrienne was led to a sofa by Mr. Parish, almost 
in tears himself. In thanking the Consul, Lafayette found 
that he had forgotten how to speak proper English. He 
could only stammer out a crude translation of what he might 
have said in French. 

"My friend, my dearest friend, my deliverer! See the work 
of your generosity! My poor, poor wife, hardly able to sup- 
port herself!" 

They had barely recovered and wiped their eyes when the 
room began to fill. The Austrian Minister, Baron Buol von 
Schauenstein, appeared with the Austrian Major who had 
come with the caravan from Olmutz, and with an old friend, 
who must be thanked for his services, Gouverneur Morris. 
Morris had been in Hamburg all summer and had been din- 
ing that day with Baron Buol. 

The Baron made a florid speech in which he said how 
happy he was to deliver Lafayette to Parish, "who seemed to 
love and respect him so much." He added, however, that the 
ex-prisoners could only stay in Hamburg for twelve days and 
the release must be looked upon as a courtesy to the United 
States; it had nothing to do with any demand that might 
have been made by France. 

This was a bit of face-saving that deceived no one and of 
which Lafayette politely expressed his doubts in his reply 
to Von Schauenstein. He must give full credit, he said, to 
General Bonaparte. As soon as the ceremony was over, Lafa- 
yette, de Maubourg, and de Pusy went to call on the French 


In the twelve days that they remained in Hamburg, Adri- 
enne rested as best she could, though there were constant 
visitors and constant invitations that had to be accepted. 
Adrienne met the dramatist Klopstock, to whom she had 
once written so desperately from Chavaniac and all the 
friends who had tried to rescue Lafayette from Magdebourg. 

Lafayette himself wrote letters to those he could not thank 
in person, among others to Francis Huger in America and 
to "Eleuth&re" in England. "Eleuthfere," he learned, was a 
French journalist, Josephe Masclet, whom he had never met 
an unknown, but enthusiastic fayettist. 

Though Lafayette thanked Bonaparte and one of the mem- 
bers of the French Directory, Barras, who had been active in 
his behalf, he did not write to the Directory as a whole. Be- 
fore reaching Hamburg, while he was still at Dresden, the 
newspapers reported that three of the Directors Barras was 
one of them had seized the executive power for themselves. 
The two ousted officials, Carnot and Siys, sent a secret 
emissary to Lafayette, urging him to come back to Paris at 
once to join them in a counter move, but he refused, not 
wanting to take part in yet another lawless coup d'etat. 

There was no hope, therefore, of a return to France at 
present. Where else could they go America? It was now Oc- 
tober and Adrienne was in no condition to make a winter 
voyage across the Atlantic. Besides, they learned from their 
American friends that diplomatic relations had become 
strained between the United States and France and that 
James Monroe had been recalled from Paris. 

They were somewhat puzzled by the cool attitude towards 
them of Gouverneur Morris, who had been so helpful when 
help was needed most. He had slipped back into his pre- 
Revolutionary attitude of monitor and critic. For this, there 
was a personal reason. Morris was miffed by the reply Lafa- 
yette made to Baron Buol's speech at the American Consul's, 
but even more by the fact that the Lafayette party was stay- 


ing at an expensive inn in Hamburg instead of finding 
cheaper lodgings in the suburbs. Morris could not forget 
that Adrienne had borrowed 100,000 livres from him in 
1793 and he was beginning to wonder when he would see 
his money again. 

Return to the world had exacted its penalty. Just as the 
sun and wind had been too much at first for the liberated 
prisoners, it was at first a shock to re-discover the complex- 
ities of human relationships and the animosities, great and 
small, that govern them. Adrienne was glad when it was de- 
cided shortly before their time in the city was up, that they 
should all go with the de Maubourgs, the de Pusys, and two 
other friends who had attached themselves to their group to 
a little town named Ploen in Holstein, not very far from 


By the Waters ofPloen 

WAS NOT ONLY a town of Ploen, there was a lake of 
the same name and on the farther shore Madame de 
Tess6 last summer had found the farm of her dreams. Wit- 
mold was the name of the estate. It had vast fields, in which 
flax, wheat, and hops were grown; there were barns for the 
cattle, chicken runs, and a house large enough to accommo- 
date all of Madame de Tessa's entourage. In the daytime, the 
gentlemen ranged the woods in search of game and fished in 
the lake; in the evenings they gathered in the salon for cards, 
literary discussions, and the verbal fireworks in which Mad- 
ame de Tess6 delighted. 

Before she left Altona, she had provided herself with a 
chaplain, a superannuated French priest, the Abb de Luchet, 
who was without visible means of support. As far as she was 
concerned, Madame de Tess said, his position was a sine- 
cure. "But," she added with one of her grimacing smiles, "I 
think that my niece will manage to keep him busy." 

Pauline, as always, was well-occupied from cockcrow until 
late into the night. She and a valet of the Marquis de Mun 



were the only attendants at the early Mass that the Abb 
celebrated daily in his room at the top of the house. Pauline 
would then visit the stillroom, where the dairy maids were 
at work. She didn't know how to make the excellent butter 
and cheese that were sold at a good price in the Hamburg 
market, but she could act as her aunt's deputy in seeing that 
all was going smoothly. Part of each day was set aside for 
her devotions, part for her correspondence. Pauline had or- 
ganized a charitable fund on a large scale for needy &nigrs 
and this involved a great deal of letter writing. She had also 
written many letters in behalf of the prisoners of Olmiitz, 
among them one to Gouverneur Morris and one to the Em- 

Pauline still visited the sick indefatigably, knitted stock- 
ings for the poor, and made layettes for newborn babies. She 
even had had time, during the past year, to produce a baby 
herself, begotten during one of several visits that Joachim 
had made at Madame de Tessa's invitation. The baby, a boy, 
who had been christened Attale, was lusty and seemed more 
likely to survive than any of the four other children whom 
Pauline had brought into the world. 

Pauline fretted all during the long delay that preceded the 
liberation from Olmiitz. When she heard that Adrienne was 
in Hamburg, that she was actually coming to Witmold, her 
schedule was disrupted. She felt the same frenzy of excite- 
ment as when her sister had arrived at Altona two years ago. 
She tried to work, to keep calm, but it was more than flesh- 
Pauline's quivering, hypersensitive flesh could bear. 

On the morning of October loth, Pauline was upstairs in 
her bedroom praying for patience when she heard the squeal 
of a bugle far away across the lake. She knew what that 
meant. It was a good old German custom for the postillion, 
who went on ahead of a convoy of carriages, to announce 
their arrival by a fanfare. Travelers from a distance seldom 
came to sleepy Ploen. Adrienne must be nearing the town. 


Pauline ran downstairs, out of the house, and down to the 
lake where a number of small-masted rowboats were docked. 
The Marquis de Mun was sitting in one of them, about to 
push off for a quiet, meditative fishing expedition. The old 
man was startled when Pauline suddenly leapt down into 
the boat and hysterically demanded to be taken across the 
lake to meet her sister. Neither of them was an experienced 
navigator, but somehow, between them, they managed to get 
up the sail. The day was fine; a breeze, fortunately a gentle 
breeze, was blowing. They were soon bobbing across the 
water and as they looked back, they saw that a whole fleet 
of tiny craft was following them. The others had seen Pau- 
line dash out of the house and were on their way to Ploen 

On the opposite shore, a group of people were standing, 
five tall males and eight females, one of whom was a small 
child. As the boat's nose bumped the shore, Pauline scram- 
bled out without waiting for assistance and flung herself into 
Adrienne's arms. She embraced Lafayette she had always 
loved him in spite of his insanely radical ideas then Anas- 
tasie and Virginie, who seemed a little embarrassed by their 
aunt's fervor. The strangers were introduced, the de Mau- 
bourgs and de Pusys and their children. The two unattached 
men were a Monsieur Pillet, who had also been a member 
of Lafayette's military family in 1792, and a Monsieur Tho- 
dore de Lameth, a fellow prisoner at Wesel. After a meeting 
in Hamburg, neither could bear to be separated from their 
friend and former chief. 

By this time the fleet from Witmold was in. All the party 
was accommodated in the flotilla of boats. Lafayette and Anas- 
tasie embarked with Joachim de Montagu; Adrienne, Pau- 
line, and Virginie entrusted themselves to Monsieur de Mun. 
During their zigzag way across the lake, Adrienne clasped 
Pauline's hand and murmured the verses from The Canticle 
of Tobit that she had recited when she first caught sight of 


the walls of Olmiitz. On the Witmold shore, Madame de 
Tess, the only one who had been left behind, was standing 
waiting, with outstretched arms. 

That was a gala day at Witmold and many gala days of 
rejoicing followed it. There was not room for all to stay in 
the farmhouse or rather, in the farm-mansionbut some- 
how the four Lafayettes were squeezed in. The others found 
themselves accommodations in the village and there was a 
constant going and coming across the lake. 

After dinner what mighty conversations in the drawing- 
room! Madame de Tess6 was in her element. The subject 
was politics; past, present, and future. The battles of the 
Revolution were fought over again. Pauline, to her amaze- 
ment and sorrow, discovered that these men, who had been 
in the thick of the fight, had no regrets that the Revolution 
had taken place. They had less to say against the Convention, 
which had persecuted them, than against the royalists who, 
by fleeing the country, had failed to support them. Lafayette, 
as usual, kept his temper, but his friends and, in particular 
Theodore de Lameth, were caustic. 

Pauline could hardly contain herself. One day, when Lafa- 
yette was calmly explaining to a visitor the abuses that had 
caused the Revolution, she exploded. "It is certainly wonder- 
ful," she cried, springing up from her chair, "how some peo- 
ple can take their minds off the dreadful things that have 
happened by all this petty faultfinding with the shortcom- 
ings of the old regimel" 

But later she was ashamed of herself and did penance in 
her diary and in the long letters to Rosalie de Grammont 
that she wrote every night before going to bed. Peace, family 
peace, was more important than politics. 

"Gilbert," she confided to Rosalie, "is just as good, just 
as unaffected, just as affectionate, just as gentle spoken, as 
you remember him. He loves his children tenderly, and, in 
spite of his cold exterior, is devoted to his wife. ... He has 


lovely manners and a calm way with him that doesn't de- 
ceive me. I know that he would like to play an active part 
again. I avoid as much as possible discussing directly with 
him anything that touches the Revolution. ... I am afraid 
of blowing up! . . . Poor Gilbert! God preserve him from 
ever again being called upon the stage of public life!" 

Thinking of her young nieces' spiritual welfare, forgetting 
perhaps how constantly they had been exposed to revolution- 
ary talk, Pauline would lure Anastasie and Virginie away 
from the salon to another room. While the girls sewed, she 
read aloud to them the sermons of F&ielon, The Book of 
Job, and Bossuet's Funeral Orations. Adrienne was often 
with them, but she was at home in both camps. As Madame 
de Tess had once said, Adrienne was one of the few people 
who was able to reconcile completely the catechism with the 
Rights of Man. 

But the house party at Witmold could not go on for- 
ever. For a month the Lafayettes enjoyed Madame de Tessa's 
talkative hospitality and then looked about them for a place 
to spend the winter. With the de Maubourgs they rented a 
house at Lemkuhlen, a few miles from Witmold, near enough 
for constant visiting back and forth. 

To finance this venture Adrienne had to go to Hamburg 
to borrow money. She alone had any collateral on which to 
borrow. When Lafayette left Olmiitz, some of his property, 
the rich lands in Brittany he had inherited from his mother, 
was still unsold, but the Directory, taking a mean revenge 
on him for his failure to recognize the legality of their pres- 
ent status, disposed of this last portion of his estate. What 
with the expenses of the past three years, the long journeys, 
the money given to Madame de Chavaniac to buy back the 
chateau, the Lafayette exchequer was again bare. There was 
the large debt to Gouverneur Morris still hanging over 


Adrienne and the interest to be paid regularly on a sizable 
sum that she and Gilbert had seen fit to settle on Dr. Boll- 
mann, who, unlike his American comrade, Francis Huger, 
was not a man of property. 

Bollmann was still in America. The German adventurer 
had failed to persuade President Washington to commission 
him as an agent of the United States in freeing Lafayette. 
Settled in Philadelphia, he had gone into business with his 
brother and was courting an American girl, all of which called 
for more capital than he had been able to raise. Adrienne 
and her husband thought that it would be a graceful way of 
showing their gratitude to help along his marriage plans by 
their gift and had arranged the matter through some friends 
of Bollmann in Hamburg. 

The two families, the de Maubourgs and the Lafayettes, 
had hardly taken root at Lemkuhlen when George arrived 
from America, via France. George was in his nineteenth year. 
To his father, who had not seen him since the winter of 
1791, who remembered him only as a boy of eleven, he was 
an entirely new personality. Even his mother found it hard 
to realize that this far traveled and mature young man, in 
whom both she and Gilbert could take such pride, was their 

George's years in America had not been happy. He had 
accomplished nothing for his father; he had been desperately 
homesick. It was five months after his arrival in Boston be- 
fore he even saw his illustrious godfather and namesake, for 
that summer of 1795, the political situation in the states was 
so tense, the rivalry between the pro-French and pro-British 
parties so keen, that Washington hesitated to receive the son 
of Lafayette. When at last he invited George and Frestel to 
Philadelphia, he made up for his earlier coldness. 

George was adopted as a son of the house, as his father had 
been before him. The letter that George brought with him 
from Mount Vernon praised both visitors for Washington 


had taken a great liking to Frestel also to the skies. No ex- 
cuse was made, however, for the President's doing nothing 
for Lafayette during his captivity except to write to the King 
of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria unofficially. Washing- 
ton's duties as a private individual were never allowed to 
impinge upon his duties as chief of state. 

In Paris, George had said goodbye to Frestel and gone to 
call on General Bonaparte to thank him for his father's de- 
liverance. The General, that day, was not at home. Madame 
Bonaparte was cordial and said that she hoped that her hus- 
band and George's father might cooperate. But that had been 
a mere passing politeness. There was no sign in Paris that the 
ban might be lifted on a return to France. For the present, 
at least, the Lafayettes must resign themselves to exile. 

Exile was quite bearable for Adrienne, now that her fam- 
ily was once more, after so many years, sheltered under the 
same roof. The Holstein winter was long and cold, the roads 
were often blocked with snow, but many guests came to 

One who came the most frequently and stayed the longest 
was Csar de la Tour Maubourg's younger brother, Charles. 
He, too, had been a very junior member of Lafayette's staff 
in 1792. He was a very handsome young man, and some- 
thing quite unusual in a Frenchman had very little to say 
for himself. Charles' reticence was something of a joke in 
the family, but Anastasie stood up for him. A great admirer 
of her father, she liked to talk politics and argue herself, but 
it was better, she said, to hold your tongue than to say a lot 
of foolish things for which you were sorry later. 

At twenty, Anastasie was an odd mixture of innocence 
and sophistication. She had had a strange and traumatic girl- 
hood; she had had no companions of her own age except 
little Virginie. In spite of all that she and her sister had 


been through, the relatives at Witmold took note that the 
Lafayette girls looked and seemed younger than their years. 
Anastasie had long ago lost her prison pallor. She was as 
pink-cheeked and pretty as if she had been well-fed and had 
led the most pampered, the most sheltered of lives. 

One day Charles de la Tour Maubourg sought a private 
interview with Lafayette. Lafayette was spending much time 
these days in his study where he was trying to write his mem- 
oirs as a possible source of future income. Charles spoke of 
his personal prospects. They were practically nonexistent; 
he was a soldier without a commission and he was poor, ex- 
cept for the promise from his brother of thirty thousand 
francs when he, Charles, should settle down. Charles wanted 
to settle down at once. He wanted to marry Anastasie. 

Lafayette was charmed; so was Adrienne when she was 
told of the offer. They had nothing to give their daughter 
as dowry, but Charles was well aware of that. This was a 
true love match, something unheard of in their own early 
days, when each noble marriage was preceded, as theirs had 
been, by months and even years of sordid dickering over 
settlements and inheritances. Charles was, also, the brother 
of their friend, the friend who had shared so many of their 
trials. They could ask for nothing better than an alliance 
between the Lafayette and Maubourg families. 

When the news was taken to Witmold, however, there 
were outcries, the lifting of hands, the rolling of eyes. Mon- 
sieur de Mun said that only savages in the American wilder- 
ness married in this offhand fashion. Madame de Tess said 
that there had been nothing like it since Adam and Eve 
mated in the Garden of Eden. She continued to be very dis- 
paraging and outspoken until she saw that her niece and 
nephew were completely unimpressed by her comments. At 
least Anastasie and Charles knew what poverty was and were 
not afraid of being poor, Adrienne said. 


Madame de Tess then offered to provide the trousseau 
and the wedding. 

After Easter, when the lease was up on the Lemkuhlen 
house, the whole family moved back again to Witmold. Just 
before the wedding, Lafayette's still beautiful, still fascinat- 
ing friend, Madame de Simiane, arrived from France for a 
few weeks visit. Lafayette had been cut off from all direct 
communication with her during his captivity, but he knew 
from friends that she had survived the perilous years, and 
as soon as possible he had begun to write to her, she to him. 
Madame de Simiane had had to fascinate an ex-Jacobin and 
get a forged passport to leave the country and to reach Hoi- 

"I thought I would find you all very low-spirited here," 
she said, "but you do nothing but talk about weddings and 

For Pauline was expecting another baby at any moment, 
and, round as a ball, was full of excitement and bustle in 
preparing the trousseau. Madame de Simiane prophecied 
that Pauline would be brought to bed in one of the big 
clothespresses she was forever diving into headfirst. 

Adrienne had to leave most of the arrangements and the 
active work to others, for her old sickness, which had re- 
mitted for several months, came back on her full force. Again 
her arms and legs were swollen and abscessed. She could no 
longer walk. There was talk of putting off the wedding, but 
she refused as flatly as she had refused to delay in leaving 
Olmiitz last autumn. Abb de Luchet was to celebrate the 
Nuptial Mass, and on the wedding day, May gth, 1798, Adri- 
enne was carried into the improvised chapel at Witmold in 
an armchair, borne on one side by George and on the other 
by her future son-in-law. 

"When I think," she said, "of the fearful situation my 
children were in a short time ago, when I see them all three 
about me and find myself on the point of adopting a fourth 


child according to the wishes of my heart, I feel as if I 
couldn't thank God enough." 

Ten days after Anastasie's marriage, Pauline's baby, a girl, 
was born and immediately after birth was christened by 
Madame de Tess in one of her atavistic returns to religious 
ritual. In her hurry to make the little stranger a Christian, 
Madame de Tess picked up a bottle of cologne and poured 
it over the baby as she made the sign of the cross. 


Another Separation 

AHUENNE RECOVERED SLOWLY from her second illness. By 
midsummer she was very much better, though not en- 
tirely well not as well as she wanted to be, for she must gird 
herself for yet another effort. If there were to be any sort of 
financial security for the Laf ayettes, something must be done 
about settling the inheritance from the Duchesse d' Ayen and 
that would necessitate a visit to France. Adrienne was obvi- 
ously the one to cross the border, since her name did not ap- 
pear on any of the list of &nigr&. 

How strange it seemed that it should be she who was leav- 
ing Gilbert he who had left her so often, so cavalierly. He 
was very nervous now at the prospect, very much afraid that 
her strength would not be equal to all that she would have 
to do and the many miles she would have to cover. He 
showed plainly that he had come to depend upon her being 
constantly with him; this, for Adrienne, was something new, 
something to be savored. 

In July the entire family went to Hamburg. Charles and 
Anastasie would go with Adrienne as far as Holland, where 


the de Maubourgs were settled near Utrecht. Virginie would 
go all the way to France with her mother. After Lafayette 
had seen them off he and George returned, very much de- 
pressed, to Madame de Tessa's house at Witmold. 

Adrienne had arranged to stay with the Beauchets in 
Paris, in the Rue de l'Universit6. She could not afford any 
but the most modest lodgings and she was glad to be with 
such good and faithful friends as her former maid and for- 
mer confidential messenger during the anxious years at Cha- 

The matter of the inheritance, Adrienne found, was com- 
plicated. Some of the heirs of the Duchess were far away and 
some were minors. One of them was the daughter of Clo- 
thilde de Thsan, the third d'Ayen sister, who had died so 
long ago in 1788, just before the Revolution. Little Jenny 
de Thesan was living with her father in Germany. Louis de 
Noailles, the father of Louise's children, was in America. All 
of Pauline's presumed share, she being officially an outcast, 
belonged to the state. Adrienne arranged for a friend of the 
family, a lawyer, to buy this portion with the expectation 
that it could be bought back if, and when, Pauline was re- 
instated as a citizen. 

Adrienne was able to consult not only with lawyers but 
also with Rosalie de Grammont, who had come from Franche 
Comt, bringing with her Monsieur Grelet, Alexis, Alfred, 
and Euph&nie. Unfortunately, the de Grammonts were liv- 
ing on the opposite side of the city and meetings were rare. 
Adrienne felt that she could spare no money for cab fares 
and because her legs were still swollen, walking was painful 
for her. 

Not all of her trudgings about Paris with a cane were on 
behalf of the inheritance. She was trying to get the names of 
all the family the names of all their friends as well erased 
from the rolls of the proscribed. She had to deal with corrupt 


and disgusting politicians, for the administration of the Di- 
rectory was venal from top to bottom. 

Sometimes it seemed as if her burden was more than she 
could bear and criticism from those in Holstein made it none 
the easier. Once when Lafayette reported what the denizens 
of Madame de Tessa's salon said and what they thought she 
should or should not have done in a particular case it hap- 
pened to be that of Charles de Maubourg she lost patience 
and replied sharply. 

A contrite letter sped back to her. "I am deeply sorry, my 
dear heart," Lafayette wrote, "that I have inadvertently 
wounded you. ... I admit, however, with pleasure and all 
my heart, that it was I who was wrong and you who were 
right ... Of all this there remains to me only the sorrow of 
having tormented you with our speculations on the Lake of 
Ploen and so to have provoked you." 

He had complete confidence, Lafayette said, in all that she 
did, in all that she was. The only thing that he couldn't trust 
her for was giving a truthful account of her health; that was 
more important to him than anything else. He implored 
Rosalie to watch over her. He, who had had such a close view 
of her illnesses, could tell Rosalie that the worst possible 
thing for Adrienne was to get overtired or overworried. Vir- 
ginie too, must pretend that she was a strict little school- 
marm and lecture her mother whenever necessary. 

Adrienne, through Lafayette's letters, was kept abreast of 
the gossip of Witmold; nothing was too large or too small 
to interest her. Pauline had gone for a visit to a Protestant 
family, the Stolbergs, whom she had converted to Cathol- 
icismand was troubled by a fever blister on her lip; George 
was longing to hear from Frestel, whom Adrienne had seen 
in Paris; Madame de Tess6 was thinking of selling her farm, 
for it seemed as if Holstein would be drawn into the anti- 
French coalition. Always adventurous, she wanted to go to 
America and was taking English lessons from George. Lafa- 


yette himself was outlining a book, a great book about the 
legal benefits to mankind of the Revolution, but he didn't 
think that he was capable of writing it himself and wanted 
Adrienne to find just the right author, perhaps his old friend, 
Thomas Paine, and just the right publisher in Paris yet an- 
other task. 

She intended to go to Chavaniac before her return and the 
very idea filled Lafayette with excitement. Since their libera- 
tion, he had heard regularly from his aunt. She was still 
vigorous; the only concession she had made to age was tak- 
ing a lady companion to live with her. The only serious 
trouble recently in Lafayette's home village had been a sheep 
killing she-wolf that Dr. Guitandry, the Mayor, had at last 
gotten rid of; with all the world in ferment this seemed an 
ideal state of affairs. Adrienne, Lafayette wrote, must be sure 
to thank the good doctor when she saw him, for all his serv- 
ices in the past. 

But when would he, Gilbert, see her? That was the ques- 
tion that Lafayette asked over and over. When they were re- 
united, he promised her, they would never part again. 

The weeks and months went by, however, and Adrienne 
against her will remained in France. She accomplished her 
trip to Auvergne, but she could not seem to accomplish a 
just and satisfactory apportionment of her mother's estate in 
the absence of so many of the legatees. She and her husband 
were sinking deeper into debt day by day. All of Adrienne's 
inheritance might be swallowed up in clearing away these 
encumbrances and then there would be nothing left to live 

In his letters, Lafayette spoke constantly of going to Amer- 
ica to start life anew, though his American friends, Wash- 
ington among them, had discouraged the idea. Relations 
between the two countries had almost reached the breaking 
point, chiefly because of the stupid arrogance of the present 
French government. There was bitter irony for Adrienne in 


the thought that Lafayette might not be well-received in 
America merely because he was a Frenchman. 

At last she realized that she could do nothing more at pres- 
ent in France. In February o 1799, she had a good reason 
for turning her back on Paris. Anastasie was going to have a 
baby and, though Lafayette assured her that a good doctor 
was in charge of the case, Adrienne wanted to be present 
when her first grandchild was born. 

She and Virginie would only have to go as far as Holland 
on their return trip. Holstein had become enemy territory, 
and Lafayette and George had taken refuge in the Batavian 
Republic, which was willing to shelter them in spite of its 
alliance with France. They were living in a pretty little cot- 
tage which Charles and Anastasie had rented at Vianen, not 
far from Utrecht. Lafayette could report how happily the de 
Maubourg's marriage was turning out Charles was actually 
talkative! He himself had renewed an old friendship with a 
General Van Ryssel, who had headed the Dutch Republican 
troops in 1787. When he and his young folk went to dine 
with the General in Utrecht, they took with them Charles' 
brother, Victor de la Tour Maubourg, who was in love with 
Van Ryssel's daughter. While a lively game of cards was be- 
ing played by the youngsters in the evening, the two old 
soldiers would sit over a quiet game of chess in a corner of 
the salon. 

When Adrienne at last arrived, Lafayette was relieved to 
find that she looked better and stronger than when she left 
in July, though she was now in her fortieth year and threads 
of white were beginning to appear in her dark hair. Sixteen- 
year-old Virginie had grown tall in France and had such a 
glowing, pink and white complexion that she was often mis- 
taken for an "English miss." 

Anastasie's baby appeared promptly after her mother's re- 


turn and proved to be twin girls, only one of whom sur- 
vived. The baby, Celestine, was less than a month old when 
the little house at Vianen became crowded to capacity, Adri- 
enne, as business head of the family, had called a conference 
of her sisters. Pauline and Joachim came from Witmold, 
Madame de Tess providing the funds for their journey. 
The de Grammonts came from France. 

It was on March i7th, 1799, that they all assembled 
Easter Even; the first time in eight years that the three sur- 
viving daughters of Henriette d'Ayen would be able to go 
to Mass together on Easter Day. Pauline and Rosalie had not 
seen one another since that snowy December morning in 
1791, when Rosalie came to the Hotel de Beaune to say 

Pauline and Rosalie, knowing how impoverished Adri- 
enne was, made common purse with her in meeting the ex- 
pense of feeding the hungry crowd that sat down every day 
to dinner at Vianen. Even so, they ran into difficulties. An 
economical egg dish, oeufs d la neige, kept appearing with 
monotonous regularity on the table. Later Joachim de Mon- 
tagu, who liked substantial vittles, complained that the only 
decent dinner he ate in Holland was in the house of General 
Van Ryssel. 

Each evening, after the skimpy supper had been cleared 
away and the rest of the household had gone to bed, the three 
sisters held conferences in the chilly little parlor of the cot- 
tage. Fires were at a premium; each conferee was wrapped in 
an overcoat, three pairs of slippered feet were perched on a 
tiny foot stove set in the middle of the room. The talk was 
in whispers so as not to disturb the sleeping husbands and 
children, and the talk was not of business; that could be dis- 
cussed when the others were present 

Adrienne, Pauline, and Rosalie spoke of the past They 
had slipped back again into the red tapestried bedroom of 
the Hotel de NoaiUes and felt that their mother was again 


present, watching over them. They decided to compose a 
prayer in honor of their dead, to be said daily; if possible at 
the hour when the Duchess, Louise, and their grandmother 
had died. It took the form of a litany. 

"Lord, Thou hast made Thy light and Thy truth to 
shine upon them; Thou hast led them to Thy holy hill 
and allowed them to enter into Thy sanctuary 

"Have mercy on us! 

"Lord, who was their strength, their salvation and 
their guide 

"Have mercy on us!" 

Midway in the prayer, to which each contributed a por- 
tion, Pauline holding the pen, the others dictating, the pe- 
titions for mercy changed to amens and alleluias. 

"Thou hast made them pass through fire and water, 
Lord, and hast brought them into a place of refresh- 


"The source of all life is in Thee, oh Lord, and in 
Thy light they see all light 


Pauline and Rosalie took up again an old game they had 
played as children of analyzing one another's characters, 
faults as well as virtues. They were full of mutual admira- 
tion, but decided that Pauline was too excitable, she ought 
to read and meditate; Rosalie was almost too withdrawn 
from this world, too much of a nun. The younger sisters 
found a shining example in Adrienne; her faith was strong; 
she was wise and, as Pauline phrased it, she had a "ravishing" 
way of giving you her whole attention when you talked to 
her; but wasn't Adrienne perhaps a little too outgoing? Was 
she sufficiently introverted? To this pair of pietists, Adrienne 


seemed to count too heavily on the joys and consolations that 
she could find this side of heaven. 

For a month the sisters were very short of sleep. After their 
midnight whisperings they had to be up early in the morning 
to go to Mass. They would have been glad to stay together 
longer, but they heard that some of the unpleasant charac- 
ters Adrienne had encountered in Paris had been informed 
of their meeting and thought they might be plotting mis- 

It had been decided to the satisfaction of all parties how 
the Duchess* property should be divided. Adrienne would 
inherit the chateau and demesne of La Grange-Bteneau, 
Pauline would inherit Fontenay, and Jenny de Thsan lands 
that lay between the two estates. Rosalie would receive Tan- 
gri in the Pas de Calais. Some valuable farms in the Seine- 
et-Marne district would go to Louise's children. 

Early in May the de Grammonts and de Montagus left 
Vianen, Pauline taking with her a trunkful of clothing that 
George had brought from America for his aunts and some 
antique garments of the Vicomte de Beaune, Pauline's trou- 
blesome father-in-law, that Adrienne had collected at Plauzat 
on her recent trip to Auvergne. 

A few days later Adrienne went back to France to continue 
her labors. Again Virginie went with her and this time 
George as well. While his mother and sister stayed in Paris, 
he would go to Chavaniac to gladden the eyes of his aunt. 

Once more abandoned, Lafayette waited for news, for 
letters, as Adrienne had so often waited for them in the past. 
Hardly had his wife left than he began counting the days till 
her return. He wrote her often out-of-doors in the tiny cot- 
tage garden, where a ring dove was sitting on her nest. He 
kept thinking of La Grange, their future home. She must 
tell him all about it the house and farm. How many ani- 


mals, big and little, were there? How much did it cost to 
feed and care for them? What was the state of the forest land? 

Lafayette had borrowed some English books on agriculture 
and was deep in their study, for he assured Adrienne that he 
had no greater ambition than to spend the rest of his life 
with her in retirement as a gentleman farmer. In June, he 
told her that he had had a visit from a French officer sent by 
Carnot, one of the Directors, who hinted at yet another coup 
d'tiat in Paris as if there had not been enough already! 
Would General Lafayette be interested in a leading role? 
The answer was no. 

But this was a moment of great suspense and uncertainty. 
The skies were darkening over Holland now. An invasion by 
Britain and Russia, the most recent member of the coalition, 
was rumored. France was sending in troops to defend her 
Dutch ally. Lafayette saw again the French uniform and 
tears came to his eyes. 

One day in August, George suddenly burst in upon him, 
bringing with him an ancient trophy. While in Chavaniac, 
he had dug up the two swords of honor that Adrienne had 
buried in the garden when she was expecting the chateau to 
be attacked in 1792. The United States sword had rusted 
away, all but the golden hilt, but George thought that it 
could be affixed to the blade of the other trophy, the one 
which had been presented to Lafayette on his retirement 
from the National Guard. 

George could give viva voce all the news of Paris. The 
political situation there was changing from hour to hour. 
It seemed as if the impotent and disorganized Directory 
would not last much longer but it was hard to say what would 
replace it. The Jacobin Club had been revived a menacing 
circumstance. The foreign war had taken an alarming turn, 
the French having been driven from Italy and General 
Bonaparte was in Egypt. 

Adrienne, George said, was very much frightened by the 


threatened invasion of the Low Countries. Again she might 
be cut off from her husband by a barrier of war. She heard 
that Napper Tandy, the Irish patriot in exile in Hamburg, 
had been handed over to the British and she could picture 
Lafayette being surrendered to the allies by the defeated 

In her anxiety, she had gone to call on one of the Direc- 
tors. It was difficult to choose among them but she selected 
the one who seemed to represent most nearly the point of 
view of the constitutionalists of 1789. This was a former 
churchman, Abb Siys. He had trimmed his sails to every 
political wind; he was a clever man with liberal leanings, 
but without the moral fortitude to live up to them. When 
someone asked him what he had done during the Terror, 
he replied simply, "I lived." 

Adrienne asked Siyfcs if it would be a good idea for her 
husband to come back to France in case Holland should fall. 

The Abb6 didn't think so. It would be imprudent, he 
said. If Lafayette had to seek asylum anywhere, he had better 
go to one of the states controlled by the now neutral King 
of Prussia. 

"The King of Prussia, who held him prisoner!" Adrienne 
exclaimed indignantly. "My husband would prefer a prison 
in France if the worse came to the worst! At least he has a 
little more confidence in his own countrymen!" 

Lafayette had shrugged his shoulders when he first read 
the report of Adrienne's talk with Steyfcs that Virginie, who 
was also present at the interview, had written out for him. 
He refused to think of politics then; he refused to think of 
politics now. Instead, he and George talked about a farm in 
America that would support the whole family, though George 
had a more immediate end in view. He and Victor de la 
Tour Maubourg wanted to enlist in the Dutch army. Lafa- 
yette, speaking like any staid and cautious pire de famille, 
dissuaded them, saying that it would be unwise politically* 


When the invasion began, however, and the lines o defense 
were driven back, he could restrain them no longer and the 
two young men went off to Haarlem to join up under as- 
sumed names. 

Lafayette knew that this would be yet another worry for 
George's mother. He was glad before long to reassure her. 
On September igth, 1799, the second anniversary of their 
leaving Olmiitz, all the church bells in Vianen were ringing 
to celebrate a victory over the British and Russians at Ber- 
gen op Zoom. George came home crestfallen because he had 
seen no action. 

And a few weeks later there was even greater news from 
France. On October gth, Napoleon Bonaparte landed in the 
South at Frejus. His exploits in Egypt had been far from 
brilliant, but the country as a whole had heard little of Nel- 
son's victory at the Nile and knew by heart the grandiloquent 
speech that the General had made to his troops in the shadow 
of the pyramids. Napoleon's march to Paris was a triumph. 
Within a month of his landing, he was master of the entire 
country. The Abb6 Si6ys was his fellow conspirator in oust- 
ing the other members of the Directory who might prove 
troublesome. On the i8th of Brumaire, the gth of November, 
i?gg, Bonaparte surrounded the Assembly with a cordon of 
his troops, had himself appointed supreme military com- 
mander, and swiftly wrote a new constitution under which 
he, as First Consul, would be the chief executive. 

Adrienne had acted swiftly also. Even before Bonaparte 
had taken the Assembly by surprise she went to one of his 
levees. He spoke vaguely, but favorably, of Lafayette. She 
wrote at once to Vianen, saying that the time was ripe for 
return. As a first step, Lafayette must write a letter of con- 
gratulation to the General. 

Lafayette, interrupted in the middle of a game of chess 
with General Van Ryssel, wrote somewhat reluctantly, for 
Bonaparte had never replied to his letter from Hamburg 


two years earlier. He felt, however, that Adrienne, the master 
strategist, his commanding officer now, knew best. He sent 
her the letter to Bonaparte to pass upon and deliver. He set 
her mind at rest on a subject that he knew was deeply trou- 
bling her. Back in France, would he again enter politics or 
public service? Would the miseries she had suffered when 
they lived in the Rue de Bourbon be repeated? 

"Nothing/* Lafayette wrote, "nothing in this world I 
swear it on my honor, on my love for you, and on the shades 
of those for whom we weep shall ever persuade me to re- 
nounce the plan of retirement that I have formed for myself 
and according to which we shall spend tranquilly the rest 
of our lives. ... I can read your heart, my dear, beloved 
Adrienne, and none of its good, tender and generous im- 
pulses escapes me. I have an inexpressible impatience to see 
you here or there and to seize at last the happy moment 
when we shall be separated nevermore!" 

Ten days after the i8th of Brumaire, Alexandre Romeuf, 
Louis Romeuf s brother, rushed into the cottage at Vianen 
with a passport that Adrienne had taken out under a 
pseudonym for Lafayette. Two hours later Lafayette was 
on his way to France. 


November, 1799 Christmas Eve, 1807 


The Garden ofPicpus 

TAFAYETTE FOUND that they were all there to greet him 
JLrf Anastasie and Charles, as well as Adrienne. Adrienne 
had managed to get the de Maubourgs a permit to return 
under police surveillance in October. They were staying in 
a house that belonged to Adrien de Mun, the son of Madame 
de Tessa's old admirer, the facetious young man whom 
Pauline had found such a tease. 

Lafayette wrote at once to Bonaparte and Siys to an- 
nounce his arrival and to present his compliments. He was 
summoned to the ministry and told curtly that he should go 
back to Holland. The First Consul was enraged. He had no 
wish to see a rival to his popularity appear at this critical 
moment. No one dared to mention the name of Lafayette in 
his presence. 

Lafayette shrugged his shoulders and disobeyed the order. 
He would rather, he said, be arrested than go skulking back 
to Vianen. Again it was Adrienne who must save the day. 
She went alone to call on Bonaparte. This took as great 
courage as any of the disagreeable and perilous interviews 



she had undertaken in the past. The Corsican was notoriously 
rude to women. At a dinner party he was quite likely to say 
to the lady next to him, "My God, what red arms you havel" 
or "What an ugly way you have of doing your hair!" 

But like many a parvenu of the moment, Bonaparte had 
a sneaking admiration for a great lady of the old regime. He 
received Adrienne courteously. He listened while she bravely 
explained the ideas her husband symbolized, the good effect 
that she thought his return would have on public opinion. 
The little man with the beautiful, pale face and quick, rest- 
less eyes seemed impressed, but when she rose to go he paid 
her a dubious compliment. 

"I am charmed, Madame," he said, "to have made your 
acquaintance. You are very intelligent but you don't under- 
stand public affairs/' 

Nevertheless, Lafayette was notified that he could remain 
in France if he went to the country and lived there quietly 
while the legality of his status was reviewed. This would 
take some time. 

That the Consulate was determined that he should remain 
in the background was made plain when, shortly after the 
new year and a new century had begun, the news of the 
death of Washington was announced in France. In an order 
of the day, the First Consul decreed that the standards of 
the army should be hung with black crepe for ten days of 
mourning. An address was delivered by a major general in 
the Temple of Mars, praising Washington's glorious deeds, 
but there was no mention of Washington's adopted son, nor 
was he invited to be present. George, who went merely as an 
onlooker, reported to his father that Bonaparte's victories in 
Egypt were more to the fore than the victory of Yorktown. 

The Lafayettes went first to Fontenay and then to La 
Grange-Bl&ieau, which would soon be theirs. The old 
chateau, about thirty miles from Paris, had been built in the 
thirteenth century. It had come to Henriette d'Ayen from 


her mother. A big, irregular building, with five massive 
towers, it looked like the castle of Sleeping Beauty when its 
future inhabitants saw it first under a somber winter sky. 
No one had lived here for many years. The avenues were 
overgrown. The moat that surrounded the blackened walls 
was thick with sludge. But this, at last, was home, a home 
for them all. There was good fanning land that could be 
reclaimed and made productive. Lafayette set to work with 
a will to put his recent studies in agriculture to the test and 
wrote to his one time farm superintendent, British John 
Dyson, for advice. 

Adrienne was back and forth continually between La 
Grange and Paris that winter at her old task of getting her 
friends and family back from exile; it seemed as if the corvee 
would never end. She also had to see what she could do for 
George, who should be given the chance that he wanted to 
enter the army. She got him a commission in a regiment of 
hussars, and in the spring, to his father's pride and joy, he 
went off to fight the Austrians in Italy. 

Gradually the names of the outcasts were erased, one by 
one. Pauline was among the first of the Noailles family to 
return. She arrived in February of 1800, and set to work, 
with Adrienne's help, on the cases of her husband, her 
father-in-law, Madame de Tess6, and the Due de Noailles. 
Pauline and Adrienne's father wanted to come from Switzer- 
land, bringing with him, of course, his new wife, the former 
Countess Golovkin, to see if he could salvage anything from 
the wreck of his immense fortune. He would like to regain 
possession of the Hotel de Noailles, which had not yet been 
sold by the government, but there seemed little chance of 
that. Napoleon had taken exclusive possession of the Tuiler- 
ies and one of his fellow Consuls, Lebrun, who had formerly 
lived in the palace, moved into the mansion of the Rue St. 

Pauline walked in fear during her first days in Paris. She 


would tremble at the sound of a cart, rumbling down the 
street behind her. Some churches were open, where Mass was 
being said by priests who had taken the required oath but 
this Pauline could not abide. Madame de Duras, the cousin 
with whom Adrienne had passed those agonizing months in 
Le Plessis, showed Pauline the way to a secret chapel, con- 
cealed behind a dressmaker's shop, where she could get the 
kind of religious sustenance that she craved. 

One day Pauline visited an &nigr6 who had been arrested 
and was an inmate of the Temple where the royal family 
had been imprisoned. Free to wander where she would, she 
climbed to the empty rooms where poor Marie Antoinette 
had once shed so many tears. Rummaging about in a closet, 
she found a blue-and-white salad bowl that surely had been 
used by royalty. Pauline reverently carried it home with her 
as a relic to be handed down to her children and grand- 

She was amazed and for some reason a little depressed by 
the vigor with which her sister and brother-in-law were 
building for the future at La Grange. Even after the last 
detail of the inheritance was completed in the spring of 1801, 
and Fontenay was legally hers, Pauline did not go to live on 
her estate. She, Joachim, and the children another baby was 
on the way set off to visit Rosalie de Grammont in Franche 
Comt6 and from there made a melanchoy pilgrimage to 
Plauzat to gaze on the scene of former splendors. From the 
windows of Plauzat in the old days, one could see five manor 
houses, all belonging to the de Montagu family, all of which 
had passed, like Pauline's wedding diamonds, into other 

When she returned to Paris, Pauline became absorbed in 
a project that had been decided upon during the meeting of 
the three sisters at Vianen. They had talked then of finding 
the place in France where their mother, Louise, and the 


Mar&hale were buried and of building a tomb for them. 
They had made many inquiries. Father Carrichon, the first 
to be consulted, did not know where the bodies he had seen 
go down into the cart on that July day, were taken after the 
execution. No one else could give them any information. 
The Terror was a subject that most people preferred to for- 
get and that the Consulate officially ignored. 

At last Pauline discovered a clue. She heard that there was 
a girl named Mademoiselle Paris, a lacemaker, who was liv- 
ing in a garret in one of the suburbs and who might be able 
to tell her something. After making many fruitless expedi- 
tions, after having knocked at many doors and climbed up 
and down many flights of stairs, she found Mademoiselle 
Paris on the fourth floor of a miserable building, not far 
from the Barrifere du Tr6ne. At first the girl but one could 
hardly call her that, she looked as if she had never been 
young was unresponsive; she seemed to be afraid of timid 
little Pauline. When Pauline had told her errand, however, 
the lacemaker burst into tears. She was glad that she had 
someone to whom she could tell her story. 

In July of 1794, Mademoiselle Paris was living with her 
father, who had been a groom to the de Brissac family for 
thirty years, and with her brother, who was clerk in the 
office of a major of the National Guard. The brother was 
the only breadwinner. Since the Revolution no one wore 
lace any more and Mademoiselle Paris was out of work. A 
pension that her father had received was also cut off by the 
financial ruin of the de Brissacs. 

One day the brother, a steady, reliable boy, who brought 
home all his earnings, did not come home at his usual time. 
Mademoiselle Paris went to look for him and failed to find 
him. When she came back to her apartment it was empty. 
Neighbors told her that her father, who could hardly walk, 
had just been dragged off to prison, the same prison where 
her brother had been under arrest since early morning. 


What was the accusation brought against them, by whom 
it had been lodged, Mademoiselle Paris never learned, nor 
did she see her father and brother again until they were in 
the tumbril being taken to the guillotine. She followed the 
cortege, as Father Carrichon was to follow it only a few days 
later. She watched her father and brother die, as if in a 
trance, hardly aware of what she was seeing, murmuring a 
prayer over and over without knowing precisely what she 
was saying. 

When she came to herself, the grisly spectacle was over. 
The Place du Trdne was almost deserted and the wagon, 
with the bodies of the victims in it, was going off in the 
direction of Saint Mand. Still half-dazed, Mademoiselle 
Paris followed at a distance. The wagon turned off the road 
into a field near the ruins of an Augustinian monastery, the 
Monastery of Picpus. It was almost dark but she saw that all 
the bodies were thrown pell-mell into a big pit, about thirty 
feet square, that was already well-filled. They were quickly 
shoveled over with dirt. She was sure of the location, for she 
went there often on Sunday to pray by the mound under 
which lay the remains of thirteen hundred people, all of 
whom had been executed in the six weeks that the guillotine 
was in operation at the Barrifere du Tr6ne. 

Pauline went back to tell Adrienne that their search was 
over. The following day, guided by Mademoiselle Paris, the 
two sisters visited die monastery ruins. It was a very lonely 
place. The fields were uncultivated; the road leading into it 
was a mere track. The grave itself was plainly marked, for 
a wall had been built about it. 

As the three women stood there, looking at the mound, 
sorrow seemed to rise from the very ground. How evanescent 
life was, how vast and all-embracing the community of death! 
Some of the beings who were buried here were mourned, but 
many had already been forgotten. There was no one left to 
remember that they had ever lived or to say a single prayer 


for them. The idea that Adrienne and Pauline had cherished 
of an individual tomb for their dead seemed petty and in- 

They learned something of the history of Picpus. In me- 
diaeval days, the monastery maintained a hospital, and in 
time of pestilence the monks developed a primitive therapy, 
which consisted of lancing the boils of their patients and 
draining off the pus hence the odd name. Until the Revolu- 
tion, a community of religious women was located here, but 
in 1792 it disappeared and all that was left of the establish- 
ment was the chapel, which had been partially destroyed by 
fire. Since then the property had passed through several 
hands. After the Directory came to power, the fields were put 
up for sale and the one containing the grave was bought by 
a Princess Hohenzollern, whose brother, Prince Salm-Kyr- 
bourg, was one of the victims. 

Adrienne and Pauline wrote to the German Princess and 
asked her to unite with them in consecrating the ground to 
the memory of all who lay beneath it. The Princess refused 
to give up her property rights. 

They then considered buying the surrounding fields as a 
cemetery, but wondered how they could manage to do so. It 
was Mademoiselle Paris who suggested that they should raise 
a subscription from all relatives of the dead. She offered to 
set aside ten SOILS a week from her meager earnings for the 

That was the small but brave beginning of a mighty 
undertaking. The first subscriptions, from the Noailles sisters 
and their friends, were easy to get, but seeking out the rela- 
tives of all who had passed through the Conciergerie during 
the last six weeks of the Terror was a complicated, time con- 
suming affair. Many had disappeared completely; many, like 
Louis de Noailles, Louise's husband, were out of France. All 
even those who had once been rich were poor. 

Adrienne and Pauline persuaded Abb Beudot, the priest 


of the Parish of Sainte Marguerite, to head the fund, though 
they took upon themselves much of the labor of investigation 
and letter writing. The ruins of the monastery were bought 
in 1802, the rest of the property later. The chapel was rebuilt 
and in time enlarged into a church, where Abb Beudot 
came every Sunday to celebrate Mass. Each year, in April or 
early May, a solemn Requiem was sung, after which a pro- 
cession of mourners, headed by the priest, issued from the 
church, chanting the Miserere and moved through what had 
once been the garden of the monastery to the grave. The 
grave itself was planted with cypresses and poplars and sur- 
mounted by a cross. For a time, the activities at Picpus were 
watched by Napoleon's secret service agents, until it was dis- 
covered that Eug&ie Beauharnais, Napoleon's step-son, was 
one of the subscribers to the fund. 

The wall of the church's transept came slowly to be cov- 
ered with small marble plaques, each giving the name, the 
age, and the occupation of a victim, as it had appeared on 
the rolls of the Conciergerie. Men and women were there, 
old and young; boys of seventeen one was discovered who 
was only fourteen and octogenarians. Some were famous 
folk there were poets, generals, and high dignitaries of the 
church but most were obscure. Only a small fraction was of 
noble blood, the majority having followed some humble call- 
ing, such as that of Mademoiselle Paris' father and brother. 

In time, also, a portion of the ruins was transformed into 
a retreat for an order of nuns, devoted to the perpetual 
adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. To the church, Adrienne 
came often to pray behind the white-veiled figures that, day 
and night, knelt, immobile as though they had been carved 
from marble, before the altar. The road that led by The 
Garden of Picpus, as it was called, was the road that took 
her to and from La Grange. 


Years of Grace 

AT LA GRANGE, Adrieime was finding those joys this side 
of heaven o which Pauline and Rosalie thought she 
was a little bit too fond. 

Sooner perhaps than he had expected, Lafayette was told 
that he was persona grata in France. When, in the early 
summer of 1800, Napoleon came back from his campaign in 
Italy, Lafayette asked for and obtained an audience. The 
First Consul was surprisingly friendly. They chatted infor- 
mally then and later. Lafayette was invited to private func- 
tions at which Bonaparte was present; whenever he was in 
Paris he went to the receptions that Josephine held at the 


A curious relationship grew up between the two men. 
Napoleon, the great opportunist, was fascinated by this man 
of principle, though his admiration was well-mixed with 
contempt. He couldn't understand how anyone could have 
had so many chances of seizing power and let them slip 
through his fingers for a mere nothing, an abstract ideal. 
Sometimes he envied Lafayette. "Lafayette," he said wist- 


fully, "has the talent for making friends." If he, Napoleon, 
should fail no one would stand by him, except his wife "for 
one always has the person with whom one sleeps" and per- 
haps his brother Joseph. 

Lafayette, on die other hand, was more than a little at- 
tracted by Napoleon's personal charm, his brilliance, and his 
military genius. At their very first interview, however, Lafa- 
yette sniffed the air and scented a despot. Various offers were 
made that would bind him to Napoleon's chariot wheel. 
Lafayette accepted reinstatement in the army as a General on 
the retired list this brought him a small pension but he 
refused a seat in the Senate, a seat on departmental councils, 
and the post of Minister to the United States. He couldn't 
picture himself appearing there in knee breeches instead of 
in a uniform and he didn't want to represent a government 
that he mistrusted. 

"I am like the child," he said quizzically, "who, when they 
tried to teach him the alphabet, obstinately refused to say 
'a' for fear that they would afterwards oblige him to say 
Tx' " 

When, in 1803, a plebiscite was held that would give 
Napoleon the First Consulship for life, Lafayette wrote on 
the register of his commune: "I cannot vote for such a magis- 
tracy until the public liberty is sufficiently guaranteed; then 
I shall give my vote to Napoleon Bonaparte." 

That there should be no misunderstanding, he wrote a 
personal letter to the Consul, thanking him again for the 
release from Olmiitz, but telling him how he had voted. 
After that Lafayette was ignored and no longer visited the 

For Adrienne, how comfortable, how satisfying it was to 
know that he could not be lured away from her and that 
honor forbade his cooperating with Napoleon! She had been 
happy in the squalid cell at Olmiitz, she had been happy at 
Lemkuhlen, she was even happier now, knowing that they 


were at rest and that the trees and grass that surrounded 
them were growing on the soil of France. 

La Grange was slowly, but steadily, made more habitable 
and more productive. Lafayette bought some fine rams and 
ewes at the fairs at Rambouillet and built up a handsome 
flock. There was a hospital for sick animals in one of his 
barns, but it was usually empty. F61ix Pontonnier, who had 
played his Panpipe to such good effect at Olmiitz, was put in 
charge of the farm. Monsieur Vaudoyer, the architect who 
had done so well at Chavaniac, drew up plans for transform- 
ing the interior of the chateau. 

Adrienne was particularly anxious to restore a small chapel 
on the ground floor. On one of its walls, she placed a tablet 
on which was engraved The Canticle of Tobit. A circular 
room in one of the towers Lafayette took for his library it 
was "the prettiest thing imaginable," Adrienne said. There 
was a suite of rooms for Anastasie, Charles, and their babies 
Celestine had acquired a little sister and another suite for 
George. There were many guest rooms for the friends who 
dropped in and must be put up for the night, and often for 
very much longer. 

As in the old days in the Rue de Bourbon, Americans were 
often entertained. Flix Frestel, now married, came with his 
family; and Josephe Masclet, the "Eleuthfcre" who had writ- 
ten those biting articles in Lafayette's behalf; and, of course, 
Madame de Simiane, who had become as close a friend of 
Adrienne as of Lafayette. Madame de Tess6 came so often 
that a special room was reserved for her use. 

There were English visitors, too. One was the novelist, 
Fanny Burney, who had married Alexandre d'Arblay, one 
of Lafayette's staff officers. The author of Evelina could not 
say that Madame de Lafayette was beautiful; she was too 
worn and frail for that but what "speaking eyes!" 

The Whig leaders in Parliament, Charles James Fox and 
General Fitzpatrick, were also guests whom Lafayette espe- 


cially enjoyed at La Grange. Fox agreed with his host's esti- 
mate of Napoleon and said that the kind of democracy they 
both had tried to promote with small success in their re- 
spective countries would not come in their own time, nor 
perhaps in George's time, but it would be a living reality for 
George's children. Fox planted some English ivy that flour- 
ished on the weather-beaten walls of the chateau, saying, in 
compliment to Adrienne, that it symbolized constancy. 

None of this hospitality and none of the improvements to 
the house would have been possible if the Lafayettes' finan- 
cial situation had not taken a turn for the better. The Amer- 
ican government had been asked by Louis Romeuf to 
reimburse Lafayette for the large sums he had spent in the 
American war, of which his man-of-business, Monsieur Mori- 
zot, had kept account. In 1803, a land bonus was being dis- 
tributed to American veterans and Thomas Jefferson, now 
President, saw to it that Lafayette was given some valuable 
property, at first in Ohio and later, after the Louisiana Pur- 
chase, near New Orleans. It would be years before title could 
be taken, but this, like the liberty Fox had promised, was 
something to anticipate. 

With an eye to the future, income and outgo at La Grange 
were carefully watched. The family economized on clothes 
and on trips to Paris, which they visited only when absolutely 
necessary. Adrienne held the purse strings. In all money 
transactions she cast the deciding vote. She knew how care- 
less Gilbert could be and how open-handed he was. Once, 
when she consulted him about giving some wood to a peas- 
ant neighbor who was laid up with a broken leg, he said, 
"No, darling, I won't let you give them a quarter of a cord. 
Give them half. Then the poor things won't have to come so 

She was charitable herself, but at this time she was strug- 
gling to pay off some of the older debts, among them the 
debt that she had owed so long to Gouverneur Morris. This 


was a painful experience. The Lafayettes' last meeting with 
Morris at Hamburg had not been altogether cordial and he 
had long since gone home to America. The value of French 
money had fallen in the past ten years. Morris' notary in 
Paris, with whom Adrienne negotiated, haggled over prin- 
cipal and interest. Morris himself was indignant that he 
should not get the full buying power of the 100,000 livres 
he had laid out in 1793. But Adrienne stood firm. To pay 
the augmented amount, she thought, would be unjust and 
even ruinous to herself, her husband, and her children. 

Her children had to be thought of now, for her family was 
increasing. In 1802, George, who had been wounded at the 
Battle of Mincio, came home on sick leave from the army. 
He was twenty-three and it was high time that he should be 
married. Dutiful son that he was, George would only marry 
someone of whom his parents thoroughly approved. He 
found a charming wife in Emilie de Tracy, the daughter of 
one of Lafayette's ex-officers and a member of the Constitu- 
ent Assembly in 1789. 

The wedding took place in June. Immediately after, the 
family left en masse for Auvergne, so that Aunt Chavaniac 
could meet and inspect the wife of her beloved George. Each 
summer since their return, the Lafayettes had visited the 
old lady, the only drawback to these stays being her passion- 
ate grief when they left The old cry, "I will never live to 
see you again," was always raised and had lost none of its 

While the Lafayettes were at Chavaniac in 180*, 
Pauline de Montagu, ever restless, was in Limousin, at 
Brives-la-Gaillarde, which was once the center of the Noailles 
estates, seeing if something could be saved for her father 
from the ruins. All of the property had been confiscated and 
most of it had been sold, but under a new law, that granted 


indemnity to former owners of the land, a few crumbs 
might be garnered. 

At Brives, Pauline met an elderly gentleman, a Monsieur 
de Lasteyrie, who drove about with her on the trips that she 
had to make in the surrounding countryside, inspecting 
farms and vacant manor houses. Sometimes the old man's 
nephew, Louis de Lasteyrie, went with them. 

Pauline began to have designs on Louis. He was good- 
looking and twenty-three years old; he was of noble blood, 
a Marquis Lasteyrie du Saillant. Titles might have been 
voted out of existence in 1789, but not for Pauline! She 
was further interested to discover that the young man was 
a very distant relative and that he was much to be pitied. 
He had spent his childhood at Malta and when the island 
was besieged by the British, escaped by the skin of his teeth 
to France. Recently his mother, to whom he had been much 
attached, had died. It seemed to Pauline that here was just 
the husband for her niece, Virginie. 

Virginie was twenty and she too should have been married 
long ago, though her relatives said kindly that she didn't 
look a day older than sixteen. The only fault that they could 
find with her was that she didn't have the stately, erect car- 
riage of a court lady. "But what can you expect of a child 
who was brought up in a prison?" was Adrienne's comment. 
At the time when her father was being wooed by the Bona- 
partes, Josephe Bonaparte suggested that Virginie would 
make a good wife for his brother Lucien, but this idea was 
never seriously considered by her parents and Pauline, had 
she known of it, would have held it in horror. 

Before leaving Brives, she consulted Monsieur de Lastey- 
rie. He was willing to promote what seemed to him a dis- 
tinguished, if not a rich, alliance for Louis. Pauline wrote 
that she was bringing some friends to Chavaniac, one of 
them a candidate for son-in-law. 

All went as she had planned. The young people took to 


one another. The de Lasteyries were invited to visit La 
Grange after the Lafayettes had gone home from Auvergne 
in the autumn and the marriage was scheduled for the spring. 

Again Madame de Tess, long since repatriated, insisted 
on providing the trousseau. The bride could not be showered 
with diamonds, as once was the custom, but the relatives 
banded together to present her with a purse of two thousand 
francs; they had not been able to do as much for her sister 
when she was married at Lemkuhlen. 

The May wedding was a small one and, Father Carrichon 
officiating, was held, not in the chapel, but in a room adjoin- 
ing Lafayette's bedroom, for in February the father of the 
bride had slipped on an icy pavement in Paris and broken 
his hip. He allowed two young doctors to experiment with 
a traction device in setting the fracture. The procedure was 
exquisitely painful both for him and for Adrienne and a 
complete failure. For the rest of his life Lafayette would 
walk, as his wife still did at times when she had a recurrence 
of her old malady, with a cane. 

After the wedding, Madame de Tess6 invited the entire 
bridal party, including the invalid in a wheelchair, to the 
country house at Aulnay she had acquired as soon as she 
returned to France. She still had a farm, she still kept cows, 
but she was no longer in the dairy business. All of her milk, 
cream, and butter was needed for her guests, who were even 
more numerous than at Witmold. 

The stout-hearted disciple of Voltaire spent her mornings 
in bed, reading, with a pencil in her hand to mark quotable 
passages. At noon she got up, dressed, and descended to an 
elegant little kiosque, which she had had built in her garden, 
a different vista from each of its many windows. There she 
received her court until dinner time and after dinner there 
was, as anciently, a game of picquet in the salon, followed 
by reading aloud, and conversation that went on until far 
into the night. 


Nothing had changed in Madame de Tessas habits, but 
her nieces felt that she had mellowed a little with the years. 
She was not as witty as formerly, they noticed, at the expense 
of religion and religious people. She went regularly to Mass 
in the village church and insisted that her docile, taciturn 
old husband should go with her. To him she was more atten- 
tive than of old. Being married to him was a habit she had 
acquired almost half a century ago and she was looking for- 
ward soon to celebrating a golden wedding anniversary by 
yet another fte at Aulnay. 

Adrienne and Gilbert themselves had been married for 
almost thirty years. She was forty-three, he forty-five. With 
all of their children paired off, they felt that they definitely 
belonged to the older generation. That summer and the next, 
they went to take a cure at a spa in Auvergne as well as to 
visit at Chavaniac. 

When the Louisiana Purchase was in prospect in 1803, 
Jefferson offered Lafayette the governorship of the new ter- 
ritory, and the commissioners who came to Paris to clinch the 
bargain one of them was James Monroe urged their old 
friend to come where he could do useful work and be sure 
of making a fortune. He declined, however, giving the un- 
certain health of his wife as the chief reason. 

Jefferson, when he left France in 1789, had worried about 
Lafayette's being in danger from royal autocracy in France; 
he worried now as he foresaw a still greater concentration 
of power in the hands of a single man. In 1804 the subservi- 
ent Senate, which Lafayette had refused to join, voted the 
Imperial crown for Napoleon. An Imperial court of princes, 
dukes, and barons was hastily created. Surprisingly, perhaps, 
overtures were again made to Lafayette. He was suggested as 
a candidate for the Legion of Honor by Josephe Bonaparte, 
now Prince Josephe; another offer of a seat in the Senate 


was made. Again Lafayette refused, saying firmly, but gently, 
to Josephe, whom he had always liked, that he preferred to 
be nothing in other words, a private citizen. 

He seldom left La Grange. While Adrienne was never 
completely well, Lafayette soon again was vigorous and 
active, in spite of his lameness. Always till now a lean man, 
he began to put on weight. Since he was no longer able to 
mount a horse, he saved himself unnecessary steps by keeping 
a megaphone in his tower room with which he could carry 
on shouted conversations with his men in the grounds. His 
agricultural experiments were so successful that he was able 
to buy bits of property to round out the estate. 

Adrienne was much interested in a little school that she 
had started at Courpalais, a village near the chateau. She 
found it hard to find a teacher that would satisfy her, for, 
the itch for education being in her blood, her standards were 
high. Celestine, Anastasie's child, was old enough now for 
informal lessons and to her granddaughter Adrienne began 
to read some of the books, the classic poems, and plays, that 
Madame d'Ayen had once read to her children in the red 
tapestried bedroom of the Hotel de Noailles. 

The years that were passing so gently, so delightfully, were 
not all serene, for the world outside the gates of La Grange 
was a world at war. Adrienne and Lafayette were saddened 
by the death in 1804 of Louis de Noailles, who, when they 
all were very young, used to walk in the garden at Versailles 
with Gilbert, Adrienne, and Louise. 

Noailles had never returned from America. He was a 
banker for some time in Philadelphia and after the Terror 
rejoined the French army in Santo Domingo. For five 
months, with only a small garrison, he held Fort St. Nicholas, 
which was being besieged on one side by native troops and 
on the other by the British fleet. He was able to evacuate his 
men successfully, sail to Cuba, and capture a number of 
British ships. He might have come to port in France in tri- 


umph, if he had not been mortally wounded in the sea fight. 
Louis 1 sons, Alexis and Alfred they were now of military 
age entered the army of Napoleon. George went back into 
service and Virginie's husband, Louis de Lasteyrie, enlisted 
for the campaigns of 1805 and 1806. George was twice- 
wounded and at the bloody, wintertime Battle of Eylau 
saved his general's life, pulling the general out from under 
a fallen horse and giving him his own to ride to safety. All 
of this, as well as his years of service, should have brought 
advancement to George, but he still remained a lieutenant 
after the upgrading of all of his comrades. One day, at a 
review, Napoleon asked who the junior officer was who 
seemed somewhat older than the others. When he was told, 
he said, with a shrug, "Oh, his son" and passed on down the 

During the peace that followed Eylau in 1807, George and 
Louis, who had also found that he was being held back be- 
cause of his connection with the Lafayettes, handed in their 
resignations. That was a very joyful spring for Adrienne. 
Her son and son-in-law would soon be home. They would 
all be together again all the family, to which a new member 
had been added, for Virginie had just borne her first child, 
a daughter. A happy year, it seemed, a year to crown all 
others, lay ahead. 

Only Pauline, who came to La Grange for a visit before 
going to see her father in Switzerland and then on to see 
Rosalie in Tranche Comt, was dubious. She felt a presenti- 
ment of sorrow, but she did not put it into words; it was only 
a presentiment and Pauline, who was so prone to premoni- 
tions, had learned over the years to keep them to herself. 


Yours Alone 

>"pHE TWO YOUNG MEN came home from the wars in August. 
JL A few days later Adrienne was in great pain. The enemy 
that had first struck her down at Olmutz returned without 

After the violence of the first attack had subsided, she im- 
proved a little and Madame de Tess insisted that she should 
come to Aulnay to be nearer to Paris and its doctors. They 
had all intended to go to Chavaniac that autumn and it 
seemed too bad that the old aunt should be deprived of her 
yearly, revivifying glimpse of George and Lafayette. On 
October nth, Adrienne heard Mass said in the chapel of La 
Grange and, apparently without thinking that she might 
never return, was driven to Madame de Tessa's villa. Lafa- 
yette and his son left for Auvergne. 

They felt that they should make this trip a short one and 
stayed only a few days at the chateau. Just as they were leav- 
ing, a letter came from Aulnay, saying that Adrienne was not 
so well and had been taken to her aunt's house in Paris. 
Lafayette, who usually was so optimistic, was panic-stricken. 



George was less disturbed by the news than by the effect it 
had upon his father. He had never seen him so unnerved. 

They traveled fast to Paris. They found Madame de 
Tessa's house had been transformed into a hospital a well- 
filled hospital, though there was only one patient. All the 
family from La Grange was there; George's wife, Emilie, the 
de Maubourgs, Louis de Lasteyrie, Virginie and her baby, 
who was still at the breast. Lafayette could see that there 
had been a change for the worse and that Adrienne was very 
ill; for a few days after his arrival, however, she rallied. 
Madame di Simiane came to see her, and Adrienne said 
stoutly, "I am going to have a malignant fever, but I am 
being so well taken care of that I will recover." 

She felt that she was deeply rooted in life. She had been 
ill before and had survived. 

But the respite was short and all the care that the doctors 
could give her was only to make her a little more comfort- 
able. The medical men of Paris were as baffled as Dr. Kreut- 
schke of Olmiitz had been by this mysterious malady. All 
that they could say of it was "a dissolution of the blood." 

Adrienne's pains remitted somewhat, but as her fever con- 
tinued and increased she lost contact with reality. She wan- 
dered in strange places. Was it because she had recently been 
reading Athalie with little Celestine that she thought she 
was in Syria and Egypt? Or did the fantasy stem from her 
own childhood when she first heard the stately verses of 
Racine read by her own mother? 

She knew that this was a time of great trouble and danger 
for the House of Jacob. There was war between Syria and 
Judah. Persecutions would soon begin; martyrs would die 
for their faith. That she was deeply involved in all this tur- 
moil Adrienne was sure, though she was confused as to how 
and why, so quickly did one vision succeed upon another, 
so evanescent were the shapes that moved about her. 

Bewildered though she was, there was one figure that was 


constant and whose identity she never mistook; her husband 
was always there beside her. He was loved not only by her, 
but by the House of Jacob, she said. If there were persecu- 
tions, he would be sure to defend the oppressed. One day 
she felt that a crown was resting on her head; she must be 
an empress. "But if that is so," she said in puzzlement to 
Lafayette, "then you must be an emperor and I know that 
that would lie heavy on your conscience. How strange it 
would be if I should have to sacrifice myself for a king!" 

Then the mists would clear and she would realize that she 
had been talking nonsense. "I must be mad," she said. "Lean 
closer and tell me if I have lost my wits." 

Lafayette, sitting by her bed, holding her hand, murmured 
that he would be sorry to think that the loving things she 
had said to him were all absurdities. 

'1 did say them? But I said a lot of foolishness as well. 
We have been playing the tragedy of Athalie. Here I am 
married to the most truthful man in the world and I don't 
know the true from the falsel" 

Another day she laughed and shook her head. "How tire- 
some I am and what a nuisancel" she exclaimed. "My chil- 
dren will have to put up with having such a stupid mother 
since their father seems to be so contented with his stupid 

Even in her delirium she knew that her children were 
there and once when George would have kissed her hand 
flung her arms about him in ecstasy, thinking that he had 
just come back from the army. But she couldn't remember 
whether Virginie was engaged to Louis de Lasteyrie or mar- 
ried to him, nor was she sure that Anastasie had children. 
"Do you know what mother love is?" she asked Anastasie. 
"Do you revel in it as I have? Is there anything sweeter, 
stronger, more intimate?" 

In her unclouded moments, she spoke of La Grange and 


how delicious it would be to go back there for six more 
happy years. She and Lafayette at times talked of things that 
they had never spoken of before. She told him how when he 
came home to Paris in 1782, she tried to hide her feelings so 
as not to trouble him. She did not need to restrain herself 

"If you don't think you are loved enough," she said, "you 
will have to blame God for my shortcomings, for He made 
me what I am. What a fate to have been your wife! I have 
loved you in the Christian sense, in the worldly sense and 

He told her often that he loved her too and she would ask 
him to say it again as if she could hardly believe it. He 
thanked her for her loyalty when he first went to America 
and she defended him against the criticism of her family, 
but she put aside the compliment. "That's true," she said, 
"it was rather nice for a child, but how good of you to re- 
member something that was so very long ago!" 

Even their difference in religious outlook was brought into 
the light. When Adrienne received Communion, the girls 
thought that it might embarrass her for their father to be 
present but when he rose to go she would not let him leave 
her. Each night she asked him to bless her. She recited The 
Canticle of Tobit for him, saying apologetically, "I have to 
say it because I sing so badly." 

One day she put the question that she had always forbid- 
den herself to ask, "You are not a Christian?" 

Lafayette was silent. 

"Ah, I know what you are," she continued, with a little 
smile. "You are a fayettist." 

"You must think me very egotistical," he said, abashed, 
"but aren't you something of a fayettist yourself?" 

"You are right," she was still smiling, "that is a sect that 
I would die for!" 


Though there were days, such as this, when she seemed 
better and her hold upon the present and the past seemed so 
firm, those who watched her saw that she was steadily losing 
ground. At the end of November, Pauline was sent for and 
came to join the distraught group that hovered about the 
sickroom. With Pauline present, Adrienne felt that her 
mother was there also and frequently spoke of the Duchess 
as if she were alive. 

"I think I will see my mother today," she said. 

It was Christmas Eve, George's twenty-eighth birthday 
and she had been looking forward to the anniversary. She 
seemed more comfortable. Her mind had cleared but all 
felt that the end was close at hand. 

Till then only two or three at a time had come into her 
room for fear of exhausting her, but they all entered now 
and sat where she could see them. She looked about her with 
satisfaction, as though they were all gathered again in the 
living room at La Grange or Chavaniac. "What a delightful 
circle/' she said. She spoke to each affectionately and then 
fell silent. 

The minutes ticked away, the hours. She murmured some- 
thing indistinctly that Lafayette could not understand. He 
leaned over her. For a moment life rushed back. Her voice 
was clear and strong as she cried, "Then you have loved me! 
How happy I am! Kiss me." 

She put her arm about his neck and drew him down to her. 
"I am yours, yours alone," she whispered in his ear. 

After that she made no further effort to speak. Though 
she kissed the crucifix that Pauline held out to her and put 
into her hand, it slipped from her grasp as she groped for 
Lafayette's fingers and clasped them. Presently he felt her 
hold relax. 


On Christmas Day, Pauline went to the Garden of 
Picpus and marked the spot where Adrienne was to be 
buried, close to the wall surrounding the mass grave. 

Shortly after Adrienne's death, Lafayette wrote a long 
letter to Csar de la Tour Maubourg, who had known her 
so well, of whom she had been so fond. He described the 
details of her illness and the long farewell they had been 
permitted to take of one another, paying tribute to the 
virtues that had made her "incomparable;" her courage, her 
high-mindedness, above all her generosity; on the day of her 
death Adrienne had sent her love to Madame de Simiane. 

"Farewell, my dear friend," the letter concluded. "You 
have helped me surmount some hard and painful misfor- 
tunes . . . but this is the greatest misfortune of all a misfor- 
tune of the heart. I will never rise above it." 

On that Christmas Eve of 1807, Lafayette felt that he was 
a broken man, but he could not look into the future. It 
would be twenty-seven years before his body was laid beside 
Adrienne's, twenty-seven years during which he lived fully 
and adventurously. His career, which had caused his wife so 
much pride and anguish, which for a time he laid aside to 
please her, was to have a stirring conclusion. 

Lafayette was to play a part in the fall of Napoleon and the 
restoration of the Bourbons. He was to return in glory to 
America, and, when the Bourbons failed to live up to his 
ideal of liberalism, he was to lead yet another revolution 
when he was in his seventies. He would even put on again 
his general's uniform, as head of the National Guard and, 
as he walked through the streets of Paris, people would 
crowd about him to kiss his hand, to kiss his cheek and cheer 

Throughout these years, Lafayette never lost touch with 
Adrienne. The door leading into her bedroom at La Grange 
was walled up so that visitors could not stray into it unin- 
vited. Everything was left there exactly as it was when she 


was alive. Each Christmas Eve, Lafayette went there alone 
to spend the evening in her company. 

There was daily communion as well. In his old age, Lafa- 
yette was valeted by an elderly ex-guardsman named Bastien. 
Bastien would come to his General's room early in the 
morning to draw the curtains and receive his orders for the 
day. Then, as Lafayette fumbled for something beneath his 
pillow, Bastien would quietly withdraw for a quarter of an 
hour. Lafayette, having found the locket in which was Adri- 
enne's miniature and on the back of which were engraved 
the words, "I am yours alone/' pressed it to his lips and for 
a few minutes felt her sustaining presence. If, for some rea- 
son, the ritual had to be omitted, those who were about him 
noticed that he seemed troubled and unsure of himself. Lafa- 
yette had never become a Christian in Adrienne's sense of 
the word but he had found his patron saint. 

In her children's hearts, she also survived. After they all 
came back to France in 1799, the life of her mother that 
Adrienne had written on the margins of the volume by 
Buffon at Olmutz was put into print, a friend who had a 
small hand press running off a limited number of copies. 
Virginie wanted to create a similar tribute to her mother. 
As audience, she had in mind particularly her own children, 
who had never had the privilege of knowing their grand- 

Virginie set to her task with some misgivings. So many 
records, so many precious letters had been lost! Yet another 
difficulty faced her at the very outset. How could she describe 
adequately the passionate love for her husband that had 
dominated Adrienne's life, that surpassed all other feelings, 
all other attachments, and yet did no damage to them? 

"I don't know how," Virginie wrote, "I can give you an 
idea of my mother's way of loving. It was something that 
was hers alone." 

Bibliography and Comments 


Certain works were used so constantly in preparing this 
book that it would be tedious to cite them in every particular 
case in the notes on the individual chapters that follow. 

This is true for the primary source for Adrienne's life, a 
memoir that she wrote of her mother, the Duchesse d'Ayen, 
and a similar brief biography of Adrienne written after her 
death by her daughter, Virginie de Lasteyrie. Both lives 
were published at Paris in 1868 as Vie de Madame de Lafa- 
yette, par Madame de Lasteyrie, sa fille, precedte d'une 
notice sur la vie de sa Mire, Madame la Duchesse d'Ayen, 
par Madame de Lafayette. Adrienne's tribute to her mother 
was written, as described in Chapter XIX, in the prison of 
Olmiitz, probably in the winter of 1795. After the return of 
the Lafayette family to France in 1799, a few copies were 
privately printed. They have been exceedingly rare items for 
book collectors, though six fresh copies were found recently 
by Count Ren de Chambrun at La Grange. 

Lafayette's writings were published in six volumes after 



his death as Memoir es, Correspondence et Manuscripts du 
Gdn&ral Lafayette (Paris, 1837-1838). Because of length, and 
perhaps to save the feelings of those of Lafayette's con- 
temporaries who were still alive, the material was severely 
pruned. On the other hand, most of the letters that Lafa- 
yette wrote from prison and exile were collected during his 
lifetime by his friend, Louis Romeuf, but were left unpub- 
lished for more than a century. They were edited by Jules 
Thomas, Correspondance Inedite de Lafayette, 1793-1801 
(Paris, c. 1930). These letters are uncut and, like the 
Mdmoires, have been freely used. 


A fragment of the Hotel de Noailles, where Adrienne was 
born and spent the first twenty-two years of her life, is pre- 
served in the Hotel St. James and Albany at 211 Rue St. 
Honor6. Where the main body of the mansion stood, the 
Rue d'Alger has been cut through. The house contained 
many obfets d 9 art and a fine collection of paintings by the 
early Dutch and Italian artists, as well as the work of men 
who were distinctly modern when the Hotel was in its prime 
Watteau, Boucher, and Fragonard. There was also a mag- 
nificent library. 

The meeting of Adrienne and Lafayette in 1782 is not 
mentioned in either Adrienne's life of her mother, nor in 
her own biography by Virginie. Adrienne may have wished 
to forget her moment of weakness; Virginie may never have 
heard of it. The incident, however, is described in various 
memoirs of the day, among them Volume I, page 188, of the 
Comte de Sgur's Mtmoires, Souvenirs et Anecdotes (Paris, 

Recently, The American Friends of Lafayette distributed 
to its members printed copies of the words and music of the 
popular song cited at the end of this chapter. It was prob- 


ably one of many that were being sung at this time. Its title 
is Adieux de Ventre-&-Terre, Dragon, a Mar gotten Sa Mie. 


Adrienne's childhood and marriage is not only described 
in the Vie de Madame Lafayette but also in a biography of 
one of her younger sisters, Anne Paule Dominique de No- 
ailles, Marquise de Montagu 9 which was published anony- 
mously at Rouen in 1859. Later editions give Auguste Callet 
as author. 

Lafayette's marriage was arranged by his maternal great- 
grandfather, the Comte de la Rivifere and his great-aunt, the 
Comtesse de Lusignem. His father, another Gilbert du 
Motier, died when Lafayette was two-years-old, his mother 
when he was twelve. 

There is no eye witness report of Adrienne's wedding, but 
it no doubt set the pattern for Pauline's marriage, which is 
detailed in Chapter I of Callet's book. 


Lafayette's affair with Agla de Hunolstein is the subject 
of Louis Gottschalk's book, Lady in Waiting, the Romance 
of Lafayette and Agla de Hunolstein (Baltimore, 1939). Ex- 
cept for the letter that Lafayette wrote from Chavaniac in 
1783, the evidence in the case is slight. Agla6 had another 
American friend beside Lafayette, John Paul Jones, with 
whom she corresponded. The little that is known of her life 
after she left the Palais Royal is told in the MJmoires of 
Madame de Genlis, who was governess to the children of the 
Duke de Chartres, one of the Duke's many mistresses, and 
therefore hostile to Agla<. Madame de Genlis does not give 
the name of the convent in which Agla led the life of a 
penitent. It was abolished in 1789 and she then boarded with 


a poor family on the fifth floor of a tenement. After the Ter- 
ror, she was reunited with her husband, but shortly after 
died, in 1795. 

More about Lafayette's attachment to Madame de Sim- 
iane may perhaps be learned after all the documents at La 
Grange have been published. Many of Lafayette's letters to 
her are given in abbreviated form in the Mtmoires. She is 
mentioned by many of her contemporaries, by Madame 
Vige le Brun, who painted her portrait twice, Souvenirs de 
Madame Vige le Brun, (Paris, 1822) Vol. II, p. 305, and in 
the Memoirs of the Comtesse de Boigne, (New York, 1908) 
Vol. I, p. 21 and Vol. Ill, p. 4. Thomas Jefferson was so fa- 
miliar with her connection with Lafayette that when Mad- 
ame de Simiane's husband committed suicide in 1787 he 
wondered, in a letter to his secretary, William Short, whether 
he should condole with Lafayette or congratulate him. 

The Lafayettes' house in the Rue de Bourbon no longer 
exists and the name of the street itself was changed during 
the Revolution to the Rue de Lille. A house still standing 
at No. 121 Rue de Lille, and now occupied by the Institut 
Neerlandais, was built at the same time as the Hotel de Lafa- 
yette and was identical with it, according to an item on page 
165 of the catalogue of the exposition held in Paris in 1957 
to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of Lafayette's 

The very condensed view of Lafayette's career given here 
follows that given fully and painstakingly by Louis Gotts- 
chalk in his excellent book, Lafayette between the American 
and the French Revolutions (Chicago, 1950) and in Volume 
I of Brand Whitlock's Lafayette (New York, 1929). 


There are many firsthand accounts of the march on Ver- 
sailles and the riot in the Champ de Mars. Their variations 


are due to the political outlook of the observers. The report 
given to the National Assembly after the Champ de Mars 
affair set the casualties at a dozen killed, with perhaps a 
dozen more wounded; the radicals, however, said that 600 
and even 2000 people fell. In Gaetano Salvemini's The 
French Revolution (New York, 1954), page 231, he cites a 
dispassionate German observer, who estimated that there 
were about sixty hurt or killed. 

Just how much sinister plotting was done by the Due 
d'Orleans has never been accurately determined, but Lafa- 
yette was convinced of the Duke's evil intentions and saw 
that he was sent away on a mission to England after the Oc- 
tober 5th outbreak. The sniper who almost killed Lafayette 
on July lyth, 1791, was a gunman said to be in the Duke's 


Three books tell something of the history of the chateau 
of Chavaniac; Henri Mosnier's Le Chateau de Chavaniac 
(Le Puy, 1883), Louis Romeuf s Au Pays de Lafayette (Paris, 
1921), and Une Grande Famille d'Auvergne by George Paul 
Pierre Bodinet and Marie Louise Le Verrier (Clermont- 
Ferrand, 1951). The chateau came into Lafayette's branch 
of the family by the marriage of his grandfather in 1708. 
Even today the house in the hills seems remote. Part of it 
is preserved as a Lafayette shrine, part is a preventorium 
for tubercular children maintained by a Franco-American 

Lafayette was brought up by his grandmother, a maiden 
aunt, Marguerite-Madeleine de Lafayette, and his "Aunt 
Chavaniac," whose given name was Louise-Charlotte, the 
only survivor of the trio in 1791. 

The meeting with Pauline de Montagu at Vaire and her 


departure for England are detailed in Chapter IV of her 


The account given here of the sack of the Tuileries fol- 
lows closely that given in Friederich Kapp's Justus Erich 
Bollmann, Ein Lebensbild Aus Zwei Welttheilen (Berlin, 
1880). The author used this work extensively in preparing 
an earlier book dealing with the Lafayette legend, A Chance 
for Glory (New York, 1957). Bollmann, who later was to try 
to rescue Lafayette from the prison of Olmiitz, was in Paris 
on August loth, 1792, and followed the crowd to the Tui- 


The material for this and the next chapter is taken from 
an account written by Anastasie de Lafayette and published 
in the Revue Retrospective in 1900 (Vol. 13, p. 363 ft). At 
that time, the manuscript was in the possession of Louis Ed- 
mond, the last descendant of Lafayette in the male line. It 
must have been written soon after the events described, by 
a girl who had a sense of humor, a keen eye for detail and 
characterization. All the conversation quoted is reproduced 
from Anastasie's report. 

Though she gives such a vivid picture of the servants at 
Chavaniac, Anastasie does not mention an American em- 
ployee of Lafayette whose existence is revealed by a docu- 
ment exhibited at the 1957 Lafayette exposition in Paris. 
His name was Zamord, he was about thirty-years-old and 
was baptized by Father Durif on December 26th, 1791. Adri- 
enne was his godmother. 



Anastasie's account breaks off abruptly before the prisoners 
reached Le Puy. The editor says that there was more of the 
manuscript, but that at the time of publication it was lost 
and the owner was hunting for it. Virginie's less detailed 
account takes over at this point. In her life of Adrienne, she 
gives all of the letters quoted here. Aulagnier's report to 
Roland is given in the Appendix to the Vie. The letters to 
Brissot were found among his papers after he was guillotined 

in 1793- 

Adrienne's letter to Washington and another letter to him 
mentioned in the following chapter appear in Volume 10 
of Jared Spark's The Writings of George Washington (Bos- 
ton, 1838), also the covering letter that Dyson wrote from 
England in which he says that "her situation is truly affect- 
ing . . . Under these circumstances she relies on your in- 
fluence/' Adrienne could speak a little English, but could 
not write it perfectly. With the first letter she may have had 
Dyson's help and Frestel's with the second, Frestel having by 
that time, March, 1793, returned to the chateau. 


The correspondence of the ministers in regard to Lafa- 
yette is taken from Gouverneur Morris' Diary of the French 
Revolution (Boston, 1939) and an article by Samuel Flagg 
Bemis, "Lafayette and America" in The Magazine of the 
Daughters of the American Revolution for June, July, and 
August, 1924. 

Pauline's view of the fortress of Wesel is told in Chapter 
V of her biography. 



Lafayette's letter to Adrienne from Magdebourg is given 
on page 193 of Correspondance Inedite de Lafayette. La 
Belle Gabrielle Plantation was still in his possession when 
he returned from exile in 1799 and was sold to the French 
government in 1802, with the proviso that the Negroes 
should be free. 

Adrienne in the life of her mother (p. 131) says that the 
Duchesse d'Ayen saw in Paris during the winter of 1793 a 
valet de chambre of Lafayette, who had escaped from prison, 
that she sent him on to Chavaniac, but that little could be 
learned from him. This, of course, was not Chavaniac, who 
was with his master all during his captivity. Lafayette, how- 
ever, mentions in his letter to Adrienne a man named Des- 
manches who escaped during the removal of the prisoners 
from Wesel to Magdebourg and asks her to do something for 
his family in case he had never reached France. 


Armand Raoul in his In the Shadows, Three Heroines of 
the Revolution (New York, 1928) says that the House of 
Detention at Brioude was the Hotel Doradour. 


All of this chapter is based on Madame de Duras' account 
of her prison experiences, Les Prisons de mon P&re, de ma 
Mtre et des Miennes (and. ed., Paris, 1889). 

The Hymn to the Supreme Being is quoted from page 191 
of Edith Sichel's The Household of the Lafayettes (London, 



Grelet's account of the events of July 2ist, 1794, is given 
in Madame de Duras' book; Father Carrichon's is appended 
to Adrienne's life of her mother. An article by the Due de 
La Force, "Une Prisontere sous la Terreur" in the Revue des 
Deux Mondes (Vol. 47, Sept. 1938, p. 361) quotes liberally 
from the letters that Louise wrote to Grelet and her children 
from the Luxembourg, more than a hundred of them hav- 
ing been preserved. 


The New York Public Library owns the manuscript letters 
that Adrienne wrote to Monroe. They have been printed in 
Bookman's Holiday (New York, 1942), edited by Charles 
Flower McCoombs. Among the Monroe papers, also in the 
New York Library, is the citizenship certificate written for 
Adrienne at Aurat by Dr. Guitandry. This must have been 
one of the papers that Adrienne asked Monroe to take to 
the Committee. It is not certain from yet another unpub- 
lished letter in the Monroe collection just when he visited 
her, but the editor thinks that it was after she left Le Plessis 
and therefore probably in the Maison Delinas. 


The author's A Chance for Glory deals with the Lafayette- 
Huger rescue attempt. Adrienne wrote to Dr. Bollmann from 
Olmiitz on May 22nd, 1796, saying that she had heard of his 
exploit while she was still in prison in Paris. Her information 
at that time probably came from the Princesse d'H&iin, 
Lafayette's cousin in London. The letter is given on page 
321 of Jules Cloquet's Recollections of the Private Life of 
General Lafayette (London, 1835). 


Rosalie de Grammont is said to have written, as did Adri- 
enne, a memoir of her mother; if so, it has never been found. 
Rosalie was the only one of the sisters to live to a ripe old 
age. She died in 1853 in her eighty-fifth year and thus wit- 
nessed two more revolutions, those of 1830 and of 1848. In 
1848, her granddaughter asked her if she wasn't afraid of 
seeing the guillotine set up in the public square, but she 
replied characteristically, "Poor darling we have to die, 
don't we? The important thing is to be always ready; the 
manner of death is a mere detail." 

Adrienne's letter to Lafayette written on board The Little 
Cherub is quoted from the account of the discovery of the 
Lafayette letters at La Grange in The New York Times, June 
igth, 1956. As mentioned in Chapter XVIII, it was not de- 
livered to Lafayette in Olmiitz, but it eventually came into 
his possession and he must have treasured it, for it was found 
in his wallet after his death. 


Pauline de Montagu's biography, Chapters V to IX, are 
drawn upon for this chapter. 

Madame de Tessa's pre-Revolutionary Paris salon was one 
of those where Lafayette was most at home. Madame de Tess6 
was a friend of Jefferson. They shared an interest in agri- 
culture and exchanged letters to the day of her death. See 
Chinard's Trots Amities frangaises de Jefferson (Paris, 1927). 

The Due d'Ayen had been intimate with the Countess 
Golovkin as early as 1790. Pauline met her then when she 
went for a cure to Switzerland. Madame Golovkin and the 
Duke were married in 1796. 


Virginie describes the interview with the Emperor; Adri- 
enne describes, in a letter to Madame de Tess6 (Vol. IV, p. 


270 of the Mdmoires), the interview with Thugut. The wives 
of de Maubourg and de Pusy later tried to reach Vienna and 
the Emperor unsuccessfully. 

The description of the prison of Olmiitz given by Vir- 
ginie is supplemented by that given by C&ar de la Tour 
Maubourg, whose letters, smuggled out of the prison, appear 
in The French American Review for October, 1948. Another 
letter of La Tour Maubourg is quoted in Cloquet's Recol- 
lections (p. 73). 


There is no internal evidence of just when Adrienne wrote 
the life of her mother, but it seems likely that it was soon 
after her arrival at Olmiitz. Madame Lavet, who was with 
the Duchess and Louise during their last night at the Con- 
ciergerie, wrote a brief account that is appended to Adri- 


How the mail was brought to Olmiitz is told in H. L. V. 
Ducoudray-Holstein's Memoirs of Gilbert M. Lafayette (New 
York, 1835), Chapter XXIIL 

There are many quotations from "Eleuthfere's" later cor- 
respondence with Lafayette given in Cloquet's Recollections. 
The letter, earlier mentioned in the notes on Chapter XVI, 
that Adrienne wrote to Bollmann was found among "Eleu- 
th&re's" papers. Since Bollmann was in America at the time, 
it was never delivered. 


That Adrienne was practically in command of the freedom 
campaign in its final stages is proved by her letters given on 
page 300 and following of the Correspondance Inedite. 


The trip to Hamburg is described in Chapter XXV of 
Ducoundray-Holstein's Memoirs. 

Gouverneur Morris' unfriendly criticism of the Lafayettes 
is given on page 302, Volume II of his Diary and Letters 
(New York, 


Chapter XIII of Pauline's biography deals with the Lafa- 
yettes' stay at Witmold and Lemkuhlen. 

Madame de Simiane was an old and intimate friend of 
Madame de Tess6. 


Lafayette's letters to Adrienne while she was away from 
him in France are taken not only from his Mdmoires (Vol. 
V), but also from the Correspondance Inedite (p. 339 ff.). 

Pauline as well as Virginie describes the meeting of the 
three sisters at Vianen. 


In Virginie's life of Adrienne (p. 410) she says that her 
mother first heard of Picpus from a priest, but Pauline's 
biographer gives Pauline the credit for the discovery; both 
stories may be true. 

A book by G. Lendtre, the pen name of Louis L. T. Gos- 
selin, Le Jar din de Picpus (Paris, 1928) gives a history of the 
cemetery and adds some gruesome details of the burial of 
victims of the guillotine. The cemetery is now within the 
city limits. Among those buried in the mass grave are the 
poet, Ancjr Ch&iier and the Prussian adventurer, Baron 
von Trenck. A wreath is laid on Lafayette's grave every July 
4th by The American Friends of Lafayette. 


Gosselin points out that the spectators who took a ghoul- 
ish delight in attending public executions represented a 
minority of the citizens of Paris. The fact that the guillotine 
was set up in various places, and eventually outside the walls 
of the city, was due to protests from local inhabitants. A 
vigorous protest was lodged in 1794, against the Picpus prop- 
erty being used for a burial ground, by a man who had 
rented the house of the former religious community as a 
sanitorium. His business venture, he declared, had been 
ruined. Le Jar din de Picpus lists the names of all in the mass 


Lafayette himself described his relations with Bonaparte 
in a long letter to his friend, General Van Ryssel, beginning 
on page 148 of Volume V of his Mtmoires. 

Cloquet's Recollections give a careful description of La 
Grange. He, the family doctor, visited it frequently though 
this was after Adrienne's death. His catalogue of the things 
that were in the chateau and even their position in the var- 
ious rooms is so exact that this book has been invaluable 
to the Comte and Comtesse de Chambrun in their restora- 
tion of La Grange. 

Cloquet tells of being called once to La Grange to take 
care of a son of Mix Frestel who was visiting there and was 
injured in a hunting accident. 

Chapter XVII of Pauline's biography tells of Virginie's 
marriage and of the death of Louis de Noailles. Louis 1 sons, 
Alexis and Alfred, both had military careers. Alfred was 
killed during Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812. 



Lafayette's long letter to C&ar de la Tour Maubourg, de- 
scribing Adrienne's illness, is given at the end of Virginie's 
life of her mother. 

After Adrienne's death, Pauline came to live, more or less, 
at Fontenay and kept up her charitable enterprises. She 
cared not only for her own children but for her orphaned 
nephews and nieces. She was in close touch with the Lafa- 
yettes and with Rosalie de Grammont, also with her father 
and his second wife, who apparently was a satisfactory and 
kindly stepmother to the children of his first marriage. The 
Duke returned from Switzerland after the fall of Napoleon 
and regained possession of the Hotel de Noailles, though he 
was so poor that he could only live in a corner of it. He died, 
aged eighty-five, at Fontenay in 1824. Pauline survived her 
husband, Joachim, and died in 1839. The most long-lived 
of all the characters touched upon in this story was Madame 
de Chavaniac. She reached the age of ninety-three and was 
constantly visited by Lafayette and George until her death 
in 1814.